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Annex Theatre Family Reunion

For 30 years, Annex Theatre has been Seattle theater’s canary in the coal mine. That sounds like a dire metaphor, but the fact that it’s throwing itself a weekend-long, 30th birthday party is cause for celebration. Over the years, when bigger theaters such as Empty Space and ACT have collapsed (or at least dangled off that cliff), the same old argument bubbles up among Seattle’s artists and critics: “Theater is dying” versus “venues may die, but the ingenious theater rats will always find a way.” Annex is a living testament to the latter point.

Over the past three decades, it has experimented; succeeded; failed; nurtured playwrights and directors and artists (some of whom became famous, like Naomi Iizuka and Paul Giamatti); and kept forging ahead. Annex should be a role model to everyone in Seattle who works for love instead of money.

To mark its 30th anniversary, on Friday, June 2, Annex is throwing a family reunion with a special edition of “Spin the Bottle” (its long-running, throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks variety show) with work by names that should be familiar to any Seattle theatergoer: Bret Fetzer, Keri Healey, Sgt. Rigsby and His Amazing Silhouettes, Seanjohn Walsh and many others, hosted by Bruce Hall.

Saturday will feature an alumni party (open to the public) with slideshows and reminiscing.

Sunday brings a special edition of “Weird and Awesome,” a 7½-year-old show hosted by comedian Emmett Montgomery, who asks his guests to do things outside of their comfort zone. This edition’s guests include Kermet Apio, Claire Webber, puppeteer Ben Burris and the duo Devin Clarke and Travis Vogt. June 2-4, Annex Theatre, 1100 E. Pike St., Seattle; $5-$20 (866-811-4111 or annextheatre.org).

 

‘Welcome to Braggsville’

Here’s a setup for a gallows-humor joke: A sweet, well-meaning Southern kid walks onto the campus of UC Berkeley and forges a multicultural-friend group with other college misfits. When fellow students discover his hometown hosts Civil War re-enactments, the friends decide to travel there and stage a “political” prank that goes horribly awry. This Book-It production, based on the 2015 novel by T. Geronimo Johnson, was adapted by locals Josh Aaseng and Daemond Arrindell. June 7-July 2, Book-It Repertory Theatre at Seattle Center Armory, Seattle; $15-$50 (206-216-0833 or book-it.org).

 

‘Barbecue’

Two families, one white and one black, show up at barbecues to stage interventions for family members who are addicted to something — and to explain much more, playwright Robert O’Hara said, would give too much away. O’Hara, author of “Bootycandy,” is a scathingly funny observer of interpersonal dynamics and the intersection of race and gender — and he knows how to mess with an audience. May 30-June 25, Intiman Theatre at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S., Seattle; $20-$50 (intiman.org).