Fresh from Ghana and tired of being perceived as just a "misguided white lady trying to help," writer-performer Tanya Shaffer set off on a dangerous solo journey up West Africa's Niger River to Timbuktu. Her experiences across cultures and colors are the basis for Let My Enemy Live Long!, ending July 8 on Seattle's Bullitt, A Contemporary Theatre's second stage. Performances began June 15.
Let My Enemy Live Long!, the title based on a West-African proverb, premiered at San Francisco's Venue 9 in 1998, then moved to the Eureka Theatre, where it was nominated for a 1999 Bay Area Theatre Critic's Circle Award. Shaffer has previously performed and toured in her solo show Miss America's Daughters and her play Brigadista. A traveler with a taste for exotic and less-traveled destinations, she is a frequent contributor to Salon.com, which will publish "Wanderlust: Real Life Tales of Adventure and Romance," an anthology that will feature some of her work. She is also at work on a book about her travels in West Africa.
Bab Duru Demetrius accompanies Shaffer on several authentic West African instruments and drums. With an African musical background, Demetrius has performed with Joe Henderson, Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock.
Drama-Logue and Bay Area Critic's Circle Award winner Amy Mueller directs. Designing the show are Mikiko Uesegi (sets), Keri Fitch (costumes), Richard Olmsted (lighting) and Matthew Spiro (sound). Elisa Guthertz is the stage manager.
Tickets are $19.50. A Contemporary Theatre is located at Kreielsheimer Place at the corner of 7th Avenue and Union Street. For reservations, call (206) 292-7676. A Contemporary Theatre is on the web at http://www.acttheatre.org. -- By Christine Ehren