Norm Stamper, Former Police Chief, Returns to Seattle as "Embittered Hermit"

Norm Stamper acting.jpg
Chris Thomerson
Former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper has taken some interesting turns after stepping down from his post in 2000. As many people know, he's become a leading figure in the movement to reform national and even international drug laws, speaking at conferences around the world. Some people might not be aware, however, that he's settled upon another role as well.

He's become an actor-"taking courses and honing his craft," in the words of a press release announcing his upcoming appearance in a play called Brilliant Traces. Having previously performed the play on Orcas Island, where he lives, he's now coming to Seattle.

Stamper--whose last act in this city, before disappearing to a 10-acre retreat on Orcas Island, was reluctantly and disastrously clamping down on WTO protestors--plays a character bound to make audiences wonder about the parallels to his own life. Stamper is Henry Harry, described by the press release as "a lonely embittered hermit who lives in a converted barn deep in the remote woods of Alaska" and is awakened in the middle of the night by a runaway bride.

According to reviews of the play when it was performed last year by the Actors Theater of Orcas Island, Stamper isn't just riding on his name and his intriguing reinvention. He's actually good. Writes Tom Welch in the Islands' Sounder: "Watching Stamper fight his way out of his emotional straightjacket in the throes of his wild swings of attraction for, and rejection of, Milligan [his co-star] was really something to behold."

Seattleites can see the former police chief emote beginning October 21 at Richard Hugo House.

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