SEATTLE -- Veteran Seattle actress/singer/writer Faye B Summers has been developing her one-woman show Phantom Cargo for some time now. It received a staged reading at The Group Theatre last October to what Summers herself describes as "a gratifyingly enthusiastic response from an audience largely made up of my peers."
Buoyed by this experience, she spent several months tightening and rewriting. The result of those efforts will be a fully-staged mounting of Phantom Cargo, directed by Walter Baker, at Stage 1 Theatre on the campus of North Seattle Community College.
Summers creates five women, ranging in age from 15 to 86, all of whom in their way are searching for their phantom cargo, a term Summers got from a chapter title in a book by anthropologist Marvin Harris. The cargo, she explains is "The things we want, the things we need to make us happy, to find our own voice. Its the unrealistic, almost magical hope for something to better our mundane existence."
The ladies she portrays include: 40-year-old Millicent, a stymied writer who wears life like a scratchy sweater and knows she needs an attitude adjustment, but won't admit it; 86-year-old Rose, an amazingly with-it senior (and former anarchist); Bobbi Starr, a street performer in her 30s, who performs vocal interpretations of instrumental pieces, such as "Holiday For Strings" and "Rhapsody In Blue"; Sharon, an Oklahoma opera singer-cum-grocery clerk who is so positive in her attitude towards life that she names her wrinkles; and Claire, Roses 15-year-old grand-daughter who lives to dance, though she is well aware she's got the wrong kind of body.
Faye B (the dropped period after the B is intentional) has been seen locally as Mrs. Antrobus in The Skin of Our Teeth and in Jacques Brel at The Bathhouse Theatre, as Miss Minchin in Sara Crewe at Seattle Childrens Theatre, and in the original workshop production of Abingdon Square by Maria Irene Fornes at the Seattle Repertory Theatre. She hopes that one of the local theatres will pick up Phantom Cargo for a commercial run. I want to share it with a lot of people she says, I want to make everyone laugh, and have a wonderful time together. Phantom Cargo performs one night only, Mar. 20 at 8 PM at North Seattle Community College, 9600 College Way N, across the freeway from Northgate Mall. Admission is pay what you can, but reservations are advised. Call (206) 527-3600.
-- By David-Edward Hughes