Its Not in the PI is a play almost equally about the current state of journalism than it is about the closure of the P-I, a Seattle journalistic institution with roots going back 146 years. This North Seattle Community College production in collaboration with NewsWrights United hints at what is lost when pesky reporters (experts in their beats) stop asking questions while providing a fascinating glimpse into the life of a reporter and a newspaper.
A quarter of the play seemed like an inside joke best suited for former P-I staffers, which made up almost have of the audience on opening night. Yet, there was plenty of material left for the rest of us to consume. In one scene, a reporter speaks of his frustration with his editor after attempting to tell the tale of a Paul Allen lobbyist who signaled to hold a vote on a local stadium until one of his votes returned from the bathroom.
The production's set was sparse and the quality of acting varied among the cast but this ensemble gave a cohesive presentation and, thus, delighted this audience member. It seems appropriate that students would tell the story about the sad state of print journalism when local universities are still turning out journalism majors who face bleak job prospects – unless they aim for jobs in PR and marketing where dodging reporters and handling the media has become an art form.
A panel presentation to explore the future of news reporting in the Pacific Northwest will be held following the play on Friday and Saturday, November 13th and 14th. Tom Paulson, former P-I Science Reporter and Co-Executive Producer of Its Not in the PI, will moderate the panel of local members of the media.
Fridays-Sundays through Nov. 22, Stage One Theater, North Seattle Community College; $10 suggested donation (206-526-0063 or www.brownpapertickets.com).