Cost of Living @ 12th Avenue Arts
A Pulitzer Prize-winning play 🏆
Published June 2, 2023
Previews June 8th – June 9th
Opening June 10th
Runs through July 1st
You don’t have to go all the way to New York to catch one of the Best Play nominees at this year’s Tony Awards; a simple trip on the light rail will bring you right to 12th Avenue Arts, where Sound Theatre Company is staging their long-delayed Seattle premiere of Cost of Living. Playwright Martyna Majok used her own experiences as an immigrant caregiver to craft this Pulitzer Prize-winning four-hander about two disabled people—one with cerebral palsy, another a recent quadriplegic—and their relationships with the able-bodied people in their lives.
Majok, very importantly, insists that the disabled roles be played by disabled actors. Additionally, all three members of the directorial team (Sound Theatre artistic director Teresa Thuman and assistant directors Andrea Kovich and Clark Matthews) all identify as disabled and are wheelchair users.
“Opportunities to work on a production like this—especially with disabled-led creative teams—are rare and significant,” said Kovich, who is also the production’s dramaturg. “Usually when I work on a production, I’m the only visibly disabled person in the room. It’s significant that we’re introducing a play that has created so much buzz, but it remains to be seen how Seattle will react.”
But Kovich has faith. “Seattle audiences can expect a thoughtful, complex approach with a penetrating disability lens,” she said. “It’s pretty much inevitable that a play with two disabled characters will be labeled as being ‘about disability.’ But I challenge anyone to watch the final scene of this play and then explain to me how it’s about disability.”
And fun theatre nerd fact: Cost of Living is one of the three Best Play nominees that already pulled in a Pulitzer long before they hit Broadway, sitting alongside Stephen Adly Guirgis’ 2015 play Between Riverside and Crazy and James Ijames’ Fat Ham from 2022 (coming next season to Seattle Rep).
📸: Sound Theatre Company