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Seattle playwrights take on 'time' in latest Collective showcase

From the beginning of time when single-celled organisms were the only life on earth, to the multiverse where people can exist in parallel realities, to a dying woman who relives her romantic past through a photograph that freezes with the end of time – those are some of the plots for an upcoming showcase of Seattle-area playwrights.

Ah ... time. We've tried to define it, stretch it, stop its progression...all without much luck.

It's an elusive concept but the Seattle Playwrights' Collective has taken on the task of writing and presenting plays that tell the story of time.

Daniel Tarker is the artistic director of the Collective. He says the idea for this year's Page to Stage Showcase came from an episode of Radiolab, heard every Saturday on KPLU.

Time is something we often take for granted. But the nine playwrights in this year's show have delved into the theme and come up with a variety of short plays.

The evening's entertainment starts with the ... well ... the beginning of time.

In Primordial Soup, playwright Steve Gins follows the creation of the first water atom to the high-tech world we now live in, in his look at the theory of evolution. The arc of the play takes place over 4-billion years but since short plays are around ten minutes, Gins had to narrow it down a bit.

From the beginning of time to time travel. Morgan Ludlow takes a different look at life with his work, Universe Rex. Ludlow thinks anything can happen in parallel universes if we let our imaginations soar. He jokes that the smallest decisions we make could potentially affect billions of other universes or the multiverse, as it's known.

Take for example, the main character in Ludlow's play. Rex has some seemingly mundane decisions to make that will ultimately affect the universe. In this scene, three versions of Rex visit him from parallel universes. They try to convince him to pick their realities. He has to choose whether to call his ex-girlfriend, hang out with his pal Ron, or wrap up a work project.

The evening of plays wraps up with Photographs of a Pittsburgh Girl in Paris, written by the Collective's artistic director, Daniel Tarker.

The play follows a woman who's suffering from dementia as she relives her greatest romance with a French photographer on the brink of World War 2. She's transported on a journey with her long lost love. As the play ends, it becomes the final photograph of the universe as everything stops and freezes over.

Tarker and the other playwrights in this festival hope the audience will come away from the evening of plays having a chance to reflect on the notion of time and what it means for them.

"Timepieces" by the Seattle Playwrights' Collective, plays Feb, 3 though  11th at the Ethnic Cultural Center in Seattle's University neighborhood.

Artscape” is a weekly KPLU feature covering Northwest art, performances and artists. The feature is published here on Sundays and airs on KPLU 88.5 on Monday during Morning Edition, All Things Considered and on Weekend Saturday Edition.