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toj: tamara ober solo, 3/4–3/6

By Rosie Gaynor

 Tamara Ober in Pipa (photo courtesy of Theatre Off Jackson)

I just got word of the Solo Performance Festival (SPF #4) at Theatre Off Jackson. They’re  featuring Tamara Ober this week (March 4–6) in her award-winning piece, Pipa. (Which award? The Minneapolis Sage Award for Outstanding Performer.)

Here’s some copy cribbed directly from ToJ’s website: “Pipa, a richly layered dance work integrating dynamic movement, a beautiful musical sound score, video and spoken text, tells the story of an accident-prone girl who is unable to take the direct route to anywhere. She wanders the broken lines of a map between worlds of the the appearing and disappearing, never ceasing to risk it all.”

And here’s a line or two about Ober, also from the ToJ website:
“Tamara Ober has been a member of Zenon Dance Company since 2002 where she has worked with over 30 national and international, emerging and world-renowned choreographers, touring to New York, St. Petersburg and Budapest.” (If I’m right, Zenon is in the same building that I took dance classes in back in the early ’80s. It’s odd to think of a time when I could move more like a dancer than a reviewer!)

There’s an excerpt of Pipa on YouTube…and ToJ sent me the press release for SPF. Both follow after the jump:

 Theatre Off Jackson press release (verbatim):

“Solo Performance Festival
returns for fourth year with 8 World Premiers
Solo performers celebrate the art of storytelling, music, dance and original work
March 3 – April 3, 2010
SEATTLE, WA – The Solo Performance Festival returns for it’s fourth year March 3 – April 3rd.  SPF #4 Can You Get My Back? and Theatre Off Jackson partner with solo artists to bring live original works in theatre, music and dance to Seattle including sixteen original shows of varying lengths, eight world premieres, three shorts nights and two late night monologue slams hosted by Teatro Zinzanni’s Kevin Kent at the Canoe Social Club. 
Solo performance is the most primitive of art forms –one voice from across the campfire tells the story of the hunt. One parent holds you and tells you the story of the day you were born. Come sit in the dark and listen to the lone voice weave live local original primitive art.   SPF #4: Can You Get My Back? is the fourth installment of Seattle’s annual solo performance festival, and is dedicated to presenting fearless, cutting-edge, diverse performances by solo theatre artists.  SPF #4 invites you to celebrate solo artists through storytelling, music, dance, fiction, memoirs and whatever else their lone voice can dream up. 
2010 Festival performers include Gin Hammond, Kevin Kent, Keira McDonald, Julia Mackey, Ben DeLaCreme, Billie Wildrick, Lisa Koch, Jennifer Jasper, Elizabeth Kenny, Wes K. Andrews, Jonah Von Spreeken, Tamara Ober, Ki Gottberg, Paul Budraitus, Carrie McIntyre, Jayson McDonald, Mike Harris, Norman Bell, Suzanne Morrison, Jeff Frieders, Ben Gonio, Noah Benezra, Becky Poole, Erin Jorgensen, and Ernie Von Schmaltz.
A complete performance list with show descriptions and performer bios will be released in the coming weeks.
The Solo Performance Festival kicks off on March 3 with a Best in Shorts evening and runs through April 3rd, closing with a night of solo performances favorites of the Seattle Burlesque community.  Tickets and festival passes will go on sale in the coming weeks.  Stay with Solo Performance Festival through our Facebook Fan Page at
Solo Performance Festival (SPF) was founded in 2007 by a group of theatre artists who wanted to support each other in producing their solo shows. The history of solo performance has exploded over the last 20 years. Standing alone and speaking their truth (both real or imagined) and then suffering the consequences of/and owning it can be one of the most frightening and rewarding thing an actor or creator can do. At it’s best, solo performance is one person’s voice, body and imagination taking flight and bringing the audience along for the ride.  SPF #1 and #2 produced the work of 31 artists from Washington, California, and Canada (Alberta and Ontario). Stories were shared have been about Weddings, Zombies, Suicide, Boobs, Camping trips, Gloomy Head Masters, Prodigal Sons, The ethics of cat surgery, bombs, The seven deadly sins, condos, yoga retreats, horse obsessions, shop lifting, maggots in your shoe and one Giant Invisible Robot among other things.  SPF # 3 continued to take risks. SPF partnered with the burlesque community, stand up comedy community and local theatre, dance, performance artists and writers.  SPF Alumni include: Keira McDonald, Jonah Von Spreeken, Mary Purdy, Keith Hitchcock, Charles Leggett, Mark Boeker, Jayson McDonald, Jose Amadour, Maria Glanz, Jennifer Jasper, Todd Jefferson Moore, Orla McGovern, K. Brian Neel, Seth Rosenbloom, Tina Kuntz Rowley, Andrew Conner, James Judd, Aaron LePLante, Suzanne Morrison, Michelle Todd, Steph Kese, Troy Mink, Becky Poole, Mark Siano and Jenna Bean Veatch. 
Theatre Off Jackson ensures that a vibrant arts culture thrives in Seattle by operating a sustainable venue dedicated to performance, art and community. A 140 seat venue, Theatre Off Jackson is located at 409 7th Avenue South, just off Jackson Street in the International District.