In 1996, Maureen Miko wanted to start a small, neighborhood-oriented professional theatre. She found a defunct pet grooming shop standing empty on Stone Way, walked in and saw possibilities. The street name reminded her of a favorite story from her childhood about hungry, tired soldiers limping into an impoverished village where the villagers are none-too-interested in sharing their meager stores of food. One enterprising soldier fills a pot with water and tosses in a stone, saying how delicious the soup would be if someone had an onion. An onion is produced, then a carrot…eventually, each villager brings something to the broth and soon villagers and soldiers alike sit down to a wonderful meal made all the better because everyone contributed to its creation. Bringing together the street name and this old fable, Stone Soup Theatre was born. Here at Stone Soup, it is our philosophy that everyone – actor, author and audience – bring an essential ingredient to the creation of theatre and the sum is always greater than the parts. We are proud to be entering our sixteenth year here on Stone Way and wish to extend our profound thanks to the devoted students, friends and patrons who have supported us.
In 1999 Stone Soup Theatre began entertaining Seattle audiences with professional productions of one-act plays. The works of Tennessee Williams, Eugene Ionesco, John Guare, A.A. Milne, Harold Pinter, Thornton Wilder, Anton Chekhov, Neil Simon, Edward Albee, Tom Stoppard and Athol Fugard have been featured.
“Stanislavski once wrote that you should ‘play well or badly, but play truly.’ It is not up to you whether your performance will be brilliant – all that is under control is your intention. It is not under your control whether your career will be brilliant – all that is under control is your intention.
“If you intend to manipulate, to show, to impress, you may experience mild suffering and pleasant triumphs. If you intend to follow the truth you feel in yourself – to follow your common sense and force your will to serve you in the quest for discipline and simplicity – you will subject yourself to profound despair, loneliness and constant self-doubt. And if you persevere, the Theatre, which you are learning to serve, will grace you, now and then, with the greatest exhilaration it is possible to know.”
Seattle has a history of losing small theaters like Stone Soup to economic change and growth. Capitol Hill is a glaring example of this kind of loss as many theaters have been forced out of spaces with rents too high to sustain. To see our beautiful city grow and change is exciting and necessary for building a future of audiences, but not at the expense of losing cultural spaces. This fall, we cancelled our first show of the season and launched an Indegogo campaign to raise funds when we became victim of a 40% rent increase. The support we received to help keep us in our space told us all that we needed to know about the community that believes in Stone Soup. It is difficult to put into words the gratitude we have for those who donated small and large. Fall 2013 marks the beginning of an annual Indegogo campaign to ensure that the Downstage theatre continues to entertain. By joining our email list you will be informed of the next opportunity to join in the fun of watching us reach our goals and ensuring that Wallingford keeps its own little treasure…of course, if the spirit moves you, no need to wait for fall, donate today at the concession stand or on your way out the door. Please look forward to the award winning drama “Doubt” by John Patrick Shanley in February. Happy Holidays to all those lovers of Christmas stories as Stone Soup continues to feature the short play and the best of Playwrights. See you in February!
–Maureen Miko, Artistic Director