Crosscut Tout: See Norm Stamper at Hugo House

The former police chief takes to the stage.

The former police chief takes to the stage.

A few years ago I literally bumped into Norm Stamper. No, it was after WTO. I was riding the ferry from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island and more or less collided with the former Seattle police chief, who was getting his daily constitutional walking in circles around the ship's deck. I asked him what he was up to and he said he was returning from a theater workshop. Yes, the chief has come out as a thespian.

Stamper lives on Orcas Island where he is very involved in local theater, at least when he's not writing fiction, screenplays, non-fiction, and speaking out on drug legalization. On Orcas, he co-starred in a drama produced by the Actor's Theater of Orcas Island called Brilliant Traces by Cindy Lou Johnson, about an odd couple, a hermit and a stranger, who meet in a barn in the wilds of Alaska and work on, well, their issues. 

Last year, I couldn't get up to Orcas to see the play, which was well received, including getting a rave from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith who described it as the "heartbreaking story of two isolated souls aching for human connection." I would imagine life in the San Juans, a hermitage and refuge for many, would give the actors a lot of material to draw on.

The production has now come to Seattle. Stamper and his co-star Melinda Millligan are performing at Hugo House on Capitol Hill. Upcoming dates are Oct. 29-30, and Nov. 5-7 at 8 pm. I don't plan to miss it this time.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Knute Berger

Knute Berger

Knute “Mossback” Berger is Crosscut's Editor-at-Large.