A Hand of Talons
Regular followers of our site will know that we are huge fans of Seattle playwright Maggie Lee. Her latest series of plays, including “The Clockwork Professor” and “The Tumbleweed Zephyr,” take place in the steampunk world of New Providence. Last week, we caught her latest, “A Hand of Talons,” and we are happy to report, it is her best one yet.
Although third in the series, “Talons” actually takes place years before the two previous instalments and tells the origin story of a character, Wilhemina Yao, who was alluded to but never actually seen in “The Tumbleweed Zephyr.” Unlike the previous plays, which were rollicking capers involving dimensional hopping and train robbery respectively, “Talons” is a smaller-scale character study that takes place entirely in one room (granted, a room with multiple entrances, both secret and not so secret). This is easily the most focussed and tonally dark of any of the New Providence plays with several characters meeting horrible fates (some of which may include death) but there is still plenty of humour and fun. The cast is uniformly strong top to bottom, but special mention must be given to Stephanie Kim-Bryan as Wilhemina who navigates the most complicated character arc of the series so far with great aplomb and to Jen Ruzumna who provides most of the comic relief as the cynical Bernadette. The direction is tight and the set and costumes instantly conjure up the alternate reality of New Providence, part-western, part-Victorian, yet strangely familiar.
“A Hand of Talons” runs for one more weekend at the Theatre Off Jackson in Seattle’s International District. For showtimes and tickets click here.