Shaudi Bianca Vahdat
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Shaudi Bianca Vahdat

Seattle, WA | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Seattle, WA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Folk Jazz


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"The Horse In Motion's production BrechtFest Is A Whirlwind of Talented Actors Serving Up Three Brecht Stories & Breakfast"

A strange thing is happening the bowels of Seattle's Pike Place Market, and I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the experience last Sunday morning when I attended The Horse In Motion's latest show BrechtFest. The show consists of a highly talented cast working as both actors, singers and breakfast servers while performing three of Brecht's stories interwoven into a seamless performance. Here's how The Horse In Motion describes the production.
Weaving together three classic stories by Bertolt Brecht, dinner theatre is turned on its head as we tackle income inequality, gender dynamics, and the essential question of how to survive in a society where the game is rigged. Using Brecht's groundbreaking principles of epic theatre, reimagined by the Millennials of today, the production invites the audience into an experience that is at once playful and unsettling, informed by history and totally new.
What's most amazing is that this seemingly enormous undertaking worked so well for the sold out audience of about fifty people. Even though the actors were literally in our faces within the small Can Can venue, the entire performance was believable and kept the entire audience enthralled and involved. Moreover, BrechtFest was perfectly timed with courses of the meal coming during "intermissions" and being served with a precision and grace difficult to achieve in such a small venue.

I tend to get confused when several stories are portrayed simultaneously with one actor playing many characters, especially if the costume changes when shifting characters are minimal. During BrechtFest, however, everything made perfect sense and the storylines of the show carried through to conclusion with a real sense of grace and logic. No doubt, this was due to great writing and a highly talented cast that seemed to go full out for the entire three-hour experience.

All in all, BrechtFest is a noble undertaking performed with great skill and verve that provides the audience with some unique morning entertainment and an excellent meal. BrechtFest continues through October 4 at the Can Can in Pike Place Market. - The Huffington Post

"Theater Review (Seattle): ‘Brechtfest’ by The Horse in Motion"

(Credit music director Shaudi Bianca Vahdat and the four-piece band for the fun, foot-stomping interpretations.)

So it turns out that Bertolt Brecht, and carousing, raucous cabaret-style dinner theater are actually a pretty good fit together. Who knew? Well, that would be The Horse in Motion, the upstart Seattle theater company responsible for last year’s intriguing, almost foolishly ambitious take on Martin Crimp’s Attempts on Her Life.

The company has gone big again with its second production, trading the vast expanse of an old schoolhouse for the tight quarters of burlesque club Can Can, and they’ve gone from the Brechtian distancing effects of Crimp’s work straight to the man himself, presenting selections from three well-known plays alongside a morning meal in Brechtfest.

Director Bobbin Ramsey again shows herself capable of smartly managing a complicated production, weaving together large portions of Brecht’s first play Baal, The Good Person of Szechwan and The Threepenny Opera, complete with a number of renditions of Kurt Weill’s tunes. (Credit music director Shaudi Bianca Vahdat and the four-piece band for the fun, foot-stomping interpretations.)

A cast of 16 — most of whom double as servers for the three-course meal — glide in and out of the small space, quickly donning different costumes and assuming new roles as nearly every scene change features the production shifting to a new play.

In Baal, a debauched poet (Liza Curtiss) bristles against convention, eagerly embracing carnal pleasures, from sex to murder. (This gender-bent take cannily illuminates the sexual politics, and gives the women the better roles.)

In Szechwan, a former prostitute (Vahdat) tries to make a new life for herself by opening a tobacco shop, but the whims of capricious gods, freeloading relatives, and ruthlessly capitalistic creditors make it difficult.

And in The Threepenny Opera, unrepentant criminal Macheath (Nathan Brockett) is challenged in his amorality by the equally corrupt upper-middle class (Harry Todd Jamieson as Peachum, who exploits beggars) and the law (Andrew Pritzkau, as Tiger Brown, a police chief eager to look the other way.)

Presented as a medley, the three shows work together to comment on one another’s themes, particularly their views on economic and gender inequalities in markedly stratified societies. Director Ramsey and her associate directors Mary Hubert (who also serves as dramturge) and Ben Philips have done a good job interlacing the plays’ essential components, although the show may skew a little long — nearly three and a half hours, with two intermissions to eat.

If there’s one problem with Brechtfest, it may be that it’s just too fun to live up to Brecht’s ideals of epic theatre. He sought to avoid catharsis and emotional connection, and while the show aims for an anti-climax, this production has too much “let’s put on a show” charm and energy for its traditional pleasures to be ignored. I guess that’s a good problem to have.

Brechtfest plays Saturday and Sunday mornings (with one more Monday night show for those breakfast-for-dinner types) through Oct. 4. Tickets are available for purchase online. -

"'IRL: Reddit' is an Ambitious Interpretation of Online Life"

“Unintentional” by Shaudi Vahdat was an unshakeable earworm crackling with humor and warmth, delving into everyone’s unintentional creeper moments. Special acknowledgement goes to the incongruous but soulful acoustic piece “Good” by Spencer Hamp. Stripped down to a guitar and single light, his folksy tune revolved around “What is your most accidental, completely unintended act of evil?” I can’t say much for concrete answers, but it was a brief, beautiful, strangely out of place addition to the night. In addition to the visual and the performance elements, audio clips played before each segment, man-on-the-street style interviews with each contributing artist answering how technology is used in daily life and how it has affected human interactions. These moments of raw, off-the-cuff musing felt more sincere and moving than all the constructed exploration. It was a breath of fascinating reality—after all, is my attention span shorter, as one artist asserted? Why do I gravitate towards some social media sites more than others, like the artist who loved Pinterest but couldn’t get it to work on her tablet?—in a sea of constructs. The overt theatrical constructs are where IRL: Reddit faltered. Transparent techniques, like characters narrating their own actions in Zoe Barer-Aderem’s “Like the Ring of a Bell,” fell with a thud. The same went for a completely unnecessary call-and-response method of verbalizing upvotes during the segment “White History Month” written by Quinn Armstrong and directed by Horse in Motion’s executive director Bobbin Ramsey, a misstep that worked against the fantastic ranting from company member Jocelyn Maher’s Skin Care Addict and Crazy Conservative Lady Amanda. Those touches underserve the theme of the evening, and somehow undercut the cool factor of bringing such a staunchly virtual world into a physical space. The times where that culture shock is treated wryly, even self-effacingly, sparkles. Oddly enough, “White History Month” also features a deft look at how ridiculous online personas are when exposed to the light of day and the harsh reality of other people. The willingness to mock works much better than any interpretive arrows pointing at interactions between humans in the “real world.” The ambition of the project is laudable, and parts of IRL:Reddit translate as the work of an optimistic and excited crowd. The Horse in Motion is the hungry youth. They want everything, fear nothing, and with a little more time and practice their messages may ring loud and clear. - City Arts Online


Some Songs (EP) | 2012 
Quizas, Quizas, Quizas (Live Version) (Single) | 2012 
Blue Green Seaglass (Single) | 2015
Left (EP) | 2016 (Coming Soon)



Shaudi Bianca Vahdat is a Seattle-based musician and theatre artist. Her vocal and performance style reflect a diverse training in jazz, musical theatre, classical, and both American and Iranian folk music. Her experience as an actor (currently as a member of local fringe favorite The Horse in Motion) and her love of poetry also come through her lyrics and composition work. She holds a BA from the University of Washington Seattle, where she studied both drama and music. Shaudi frequently works as a music director and composer for theatre, most recently doing both for The Horse in Motion's BrechtFest, which enjoyed positive critical and audience reception when it played at The Can Can in Pike Place Market in fall of 2015. She also served as composer for Washington Ensemble Theatre's world premiere of Susan Stanton's The Things Are Against Us
Shaudi's debut EP, Some Songs, is available on iTunes and Spotify, and she is currently at work on a full length follow up album, Left, set to be released in 2016.

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