Photos by Michael Brunk

Review by Shelli ParkIf you want to warm your hearts and minds during this February cold spell head to Burien Actors Theatre for Rapture, Blister, Burn. Attending this production is a very satisfying experience. Rapture, Blister, Burn is written by Gina Gionfriddo, a commission by Playwrights Horizons, Inc., out of New York City. Gionfriddo has created a grounded glimpse into a world of real people trying to survive in a landscape of mixed messages and emotional baggage. She infuses wisdom, wit and humor into this smartly written script. The requirements for the design of the set are great, and Albie Clementi, set designer, rises to the occasion. The layout is intelligent and the construction is top notch, a very impressive presentation. Cyndi Baumgardner has done a lovely job with props, adding details without burdening the overall feel. The cast is superb. There is not one weak link in this ensemble of five. There are different levels of acting one can experience when attending a play. A light, superficial performance can entertain, for sure, but the depth of performance in this production encourages a very willing suspension of disbelief. It is difficult to pick a favorite performance, but the actor who most impressed me was Trish Cosgrove, who plays Alice, the mother of Catherine. She is incredibly comfortable on stage, so authentic in her role, that I, at times, forgot that I was supposed to be reviewing the performance, watching with a critical eye. Cosgrove’s wry humor, and the twinkle in her eye, won me over. For the college student, Avery, Caitlin Colman creates a wonderful young woman, all wild-eyed, yet with a prescient wisdom. She has the ability to convincingly convey possession of a fresh, informed view of the world, balanced by the self-doubt which comes with the, sometimes, brutal learning curves of life. The remaining cast is a married couple, Don and Gwen, and an old college friend, Catherine. Each have taken separate life paths, and reunite after many years to deal with old pains, and new. Self-discovery just never ends. Wade Hicks, the lone male in the cast, plays Don, an unambitious academic, who is floating along in life, barely lifting his head enough to watch as it passes him by. He is unhappy in his marriage to Gwen. Hicks plays the part well. Energy hanging low, he aptly conveys the dry humor of middle-age malaise. The core of the story, the real reason we are here, is the complex relationship between Catherine (Kris Pepper Hambrick) and Gwen (Alissa Cattabriga). Presented are two women who took divergent paths, both wondering at this stage of their lives if they somehow made a mistake ‘back then’, jealous of the other. Hambrick and Cattabriga hold their own on stage. Both are filled with self-confidence, and, also, nearly debilitating doubt. The idiosyncrasies they bring to their characters makes them highly believable, and easy to identify with. One of the joys in Gionfriddo’s script is the well-rounded overview of the history of feminism, complete with the multi-generational perspectives provided by Alice and Avery. The lessons are delivered with witty banter, but not without appropriate weight given to the subject. A final toast to life between Catherine, Avery and Alice is highlighted, a gift given to us by Zanna King, lighting designer, who leaves us with a lovely lasting moment. Rapture, Blister, Burn is well worth the push off of the warm couch to bask in the glow of BAT’s stage lights and the presence of this amazing cast. TICKETS & $5 OFF COUPON Ticket prices range from $7 to $20. Student tickets are just $10. You can also save $5 off tickets by using the coupon below (click coupon, then print it yourself): REMAINING PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:
  • Friday, February 23, 2018: 8pm
  • Saturday, February 24, 2018: 8pm
  • Sunday, February 25, 2018: 2pm
  • Friday, March 2, 2018: 8pm
  • Saturday, March 3, 2018: 8pm
  • Sunday, March 4, 2018: 2pm
  • Friday, March 9, 2018: 8pm
  • Saturday, March 10, 2018: 8pm
  • Sunday, March 11, 2018: 2pm
For tickets, special deals or other information, go to or call 206-242-5180. Rapture, Blister, Burn is sponsored by 4Culture and Pickled & Preserved. THE CAST, DIRECTOR AND DESIGNERS Stage directors Barbara Cawley and Beau M.K. Prichard direct the talented cast of Kris Pepper Hambrick (Catherine), Alissa Cattabriga (Gwen), Caitlin Colman (Avery), Trish Cosgrove (Alice) and Wade Hicks (Don). Natalie H. Berg is the show’s stage manager. Designers for the show are: Albie Clementi, set; Zanna King, lighting; Cyndi Baumgardner, props; Janelle Kimbrough, costumes; and Eric Dickman, sound. ABOUT BURIEN ACTORS THEATRE Exciting live theater has been a tradition in Burien since 1955. Incorporated in 1980, Burien Actors Theatre (BAT) has been a leading producer of quality live theater serving residents of the Seattle and south Puget Sound areas. Burien Actors Theatre gives audiences an intriguing and invigorating theatre experience with unusual and fantastical productions they can’t see on film or see anywhere else. The company’s mission is to treat audiences to productions of the highest artistic integrity that excite, engage and involve both the local and expanding theatrical communities in the Puget Sound region. BAT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) entity and operates on revenue from ticket sales, donations, grants, sponsorships and volunteers. For more info, visit Burien Actors Theatre is located at 14501 4th Ave SW: ]]>

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