We breathed new life into our rehearsal space in Seattle's bustling University District last night during our meet-and-greet for Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's The World of Extreme Happiness. Needless to say, we feel invigorated and ready to launch our 2017/18 Season with this savage, bruising satire that we're presenting in co-production with SIS Productions.

Directed by Gregory Award winning director and co-founder of Azeotrope, Desdemona Chiang, The World of Extreme Happiness is a darkly comedic odyssey through contemporary China that centers around a young factory worker’s struggle to pull herself out of poverty. When her actions lead to dire consequences for a fellow worker, she is forced to question the system she’s spent her life trying to master, and stand up against the powers that be.


Production Manager Ariel Bui kicked off the evening with a round table meet-and-greet, which was a wonderful opportunity for members of both companies to introduce themselves and get acquainted with the production's cast and creative team. If you caught the Seattle premiere of Chinglish back at ArtsWest in 2015, some of their names might sound familiar!

Every scenic design starts with a scale model of the set to help the team envision what the finished product will look like. Scenic Designer Burton Yuen's model might look straightforward, but there are more than a few surprises hidden between those bold, straight lines and seemingly plain panels. We don't want to give too much away, but our design team passed around some mock-ups that we'll share with you later over on our Facebook page.

Costume Designer Christine Tschirgi is tasked with the challenge of not only helping our actors bring the characters of The World of Extreme Happiness to life, but also distinguishing between rural and urban China. Tailoring multiple costumes for all seven of our actors will keep her busy up until opening night; understandably, she didn't have anything physical for us to slip into, but the design boards she presented instead gave us a clear sense of time, place and--most importantly--personality. 


Our Sound Designer, Jay Weinland, who has been designing soundscapes for Seattle Public Theater for twenty-five years, also had some things to say about challenges unique to Cowhig's script. Unfortunately, Lighting Designer Emily Leong was unable to join us--because she's currently in China.

We're hoping she returns with some well-researched tips on how we can bring you there, too.

Tickets are on sale today!

Julia NardinComment