Thursday, October 27, 2005
Wanted: Reviews Without Nostalgia
Theater used to be the source for movies and televsion shows, the review continues. "The so-called golden age of television was built on the work and prestige of Broadway playwrights."
But now--and you can fill in the rest. We live in a degenerate age, and Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams are dead, and there are--gasp--plays based on movies and pop music. It's "galling to see theater lag behind," the review states. "It now leans heavily on film, television and Top 40 music. If the results were fresh, it would be fine. But so often (as with "Movin' Out" or "Mamma Mia!") they look old and leave you feeling blue."
I feel blue when I read crap like this. OK, more accurately, I see red. I wonder what shows this reviewer has recently seen. Is it bad that Richard Greenberg's "Take Me Out" is based on baseball? And "The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow" by Rolin Jones acknowledges computers and is quite modern and dazzling? Or "Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde" is based on court transcripts? OK, full disclosure: I enjoyed Mamma Mia! It wasn't "The Passion Plays," which I guess are to be scorned because they're based on a book called the New Testament. How derivative. (I loved the Passion Plays, as done by Arena Stage, and left the theater with greater insight into both religion, politics and drama than I had had for quite some time).
There's a breadth to theater in Washington today that I find quite liberating. Theater is free to borrow from every medium, and I don't think that that weakens the story or the performances at all. I'm tired of people saying that things were better in the 1950s when Joseph McCarthy screened everything for Communist tendencies and there was rampant anti-Semitism, racial segregation, polio and diptheria. Oh, for those good old days!
Unlike many movies and TV shows that have become formulaic--the adventure story, the romance, the cop show--theater doesn't have to make a ton of money (though it's nice if it does), and it doesn't pretend to stage things with mass appeal. The discussions, readings, musical offerings and intellectual vitality in the theater cannot be matched by television or the movies. Theater can break many more boundaries and challenge the audience in more ways than TV or the movies can dare to contemplate. (Though some TV commercials are quite creative).
If anything, television's reality shows are borrowing from theater. And there's a gnashing of teeth from that quarter--what will writers do?
I think there should be MORE fluidity in the US between movies, TV, art, music and theater. For example, it's a big deal if a cinema celebrity appears on stage in this country. It's not in Britain. These are actors. Sometimes they do live theater, sometimes they're on TV or in the movies, and sometimes they're unemployed. I don't think we should put them into categories, but perhaps that's a subject for a different post.
Anyway, the Times reviewer ends by saying that she liked a play that borrowed from the visual arts. (It's OK to borrow from paintings, but not from ABBA songs. Playwrights, take note).
The Times correspondent says:
"Several weeks ago, I went to Performance Space 122 in the East Village, one of the best places in the city for fresh, resourceful theater. That night I saw 'Christina Olson: American Model,' a dance-theater solo based on Andrew Wyeth's famous painting 'Christina's World.' Like van Gogh's sunflowers, or Warhol's soup cans, Wyeth's 1948 work is so familiar that each new reproduction is like an instant replay.
Wyeth's subject, Christina Olson, was disabled. And the choreographer Tamar Rogoff was absolutely right to give her a theatrical life through dance. (There are just bits of text.) Claire Danes was the right performer, too, with her sturdy, expressive body and luminous concentration.
After all, who has a deeper connection to movement than someone at risk of losing it? Someone who, like a dancer, must push her body and each aching limb, muscle and joint to the point at which the difficult meets the impossible. Video images were used sparingly. Glimpses of trees and a barn evoked the painting. They did not compete with the flesh-and-blood figure onstage.
The space we sat in felt both like a theater and an artist's studio. We were living in the present and the past: the story as it was being danced onstage and the painting as we remembered it."
That sounds like a powerful evening. Was the play weakened because many people knew the painting? I doubt it...the painting was probably just an inspiration for the playwright. I did not know, until now, that Christina in the painting was disabled.
The reviewer ends by saying:
"With the right theatrical elements, something amazing could happen, as it did in 'Christina Olson: American Model.' We could have prototypes for new theatrical understanding."
This isn't new at all--I loved the dance play, "Contact," which contained a vignette based on the Fragonard painting, "The Swing." Using a painting as inspiration was just new to this reviewer. (Don't tell her about "Girl With Pearl Earring"--a book based on a painting! Oh, for the good old days when authors just made things up without having to plagiarize from Vermeer!)
Every performance is new to someone. But I think we live in an age that is freer to explore all dimensions of connecting with a live audience than any that came before. The worst aspect of theater today is all the people who sigh and wish for the olden days. (Operagoers are worse, but I don't hang out with them). Someone get this woman a ticket to the 21st Century, and perhaps a train ticket to DC, and she'll feel better about being alive and being a theater-goer today.
Her full review is online at:
Monday, October 24, 2005
On A Disappointing Show; PWYC at the DCJCC
Frankly, the show was disappointing, even by community theater standards. People forgot the lyrics and the small, out-of-tune orchestra drowned out some of the singers. The person accompanying me, who does not like G&S (opposites attract), said he now gets to choose the next five things we attend. But the chorus, where my colleague sang, was terrific. People obviously had a great time. And I learn a lot from disappointing shows. First, I appreciate how great a good show must be. Those G&S lyrics are tongue-twisters. Good actors who can carry a tune do not grow on trees, or sail up in just any old gondola. And I will never again assume that an orchestra will play in tune merely because it is playing in public. (I am spoiled that way).
I'm glad I went, because I did not know that the Mount Vernon Players were the first integrated theater in Washington. They were the nucleus of what later became Arena Stage, according to the energetic and welcoming managing director Darryl Winston, who also conducted a raffle for free tickets during intermission. (If the magic words "free tickets" are involved, I am there). According to the Mount Vernon Players' Web site, at http://www.mountvernonplayers.org/:
"In October 1936, live theater in this city consisted of touring companies stopping at the National Theater. That all changed when Edward P. Mangum attended a one act play being presented in the sanctuary of Mount Vernon Place UMC, and stayed to become the managing director of the players. With the aid of Dr John W. Rustin, this theatrical group grew and prospered. By 1947 there were more than 150 Catholic, Protestant, and Jews working together to present family theater before integrated audiences. They called themselves the Mount Vernon Players. Nowhere else in the Nation’s Capital at that time could this have occurred. When Arena Stage opened on August 16, 1950, across Mount Vernon Square in the old Hippodrome Theater, every member of the staff-- backstage and front of the house -- had had years of training and experience with the Mount Vernon Players. It can be said that, for all practical purposes, Arena Stage is an outgrowth of the Mount Vernon Players."
WHO KNEW? Well, now I do. But as my companion gets to choose the next five things we attend, I am braced for a lot of movies like Wallace & Vomit. Fine. But a Pay-What-You-Can show this week at Theater J looks promising:
"STRING FEVER" COMBINES MYSTERIES OF QUANTUM PHYSICS AND A LOVELORN MUSICIAN'S MIDLIFE QUESTIONS.
Theater J continues its adventurous 2005-06 season with Jacquelyn Reingold's STRING FEVER , an introspective urban comedy that won the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project. Director Peg Denithorne (Talley's Folly , Peter & the Wolf) guides an ensemble cast in this exploration of midlife anxieties, human longing and cutting edge quantum physics.
Music teacher Lily reaches her fortieth birthday nursing a broken heart and failed ambitions as a concert violinist. Unable to rid herself of thoughts of Matthew,a musician who left her and entered psychiatric therapy, Lily falls into a relationship with cat-adoring physicist Frank. Frank introduces her to String Theory, the notion that the universe is composed of tiny, multidimensional vibrating filaments. Searching for ties in a cosmos of disconnection, Lily becomes obsessed with particle vibration, quantum mechanics, and Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, as well as physicists' search for a unified “theory of everything.” Adrift in loneliness, considering artificial insemination, Lily also seeks solace in Janey, her spunky best friend grappling with cancer and self-exile in the Midwest, and her irascible father Artie. Together the characters voyage into the depths of their own multidimensional lives, addressing midlife issues like mortality and unrequited desire with urban resilience and resigned humor.
There are interesting comments from those involved in the production at http://www.dcjcc.org/arts/theaterj/currentshow.php
But most importantly:
Thursday, October 27 at 7:30 pm,
Sunday, October 30 at 8:00 pm
(Box Office opens an hour and a half prior
to the show for ticket purchase)
RIch people who want to buy tickets can do so at
800.494.TIXS or visit
TICKETS: $15 - $39
$5 OFF for all regular tickets purchased before October 31! (Use code TJ5 online or by phone)
For groups of 10+call (202) 777-3214 or email email@example.com
Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm
Saturday at 8pm
Sunday at 3pm and 7:30pm
No performance on Nov 6, 16, 2
Tuesday, November 15 at 7:30 pm, Wednesday, November 16 at 12:00 pm, and Tuesday, November 22 at 7:30 pm.
Press Night: Monday, October 31, 2005 at 7:30 (with Halloween reception to follow)
Special $25 Weekend Preview Performances
Saturday, October 29, 2005 at 8:00 pm
Sunday, October 30, 2005 at 3:00 pm
Thursday, October 27 at 7:30 pm,
Sunday, October 30 at 8:00 pm
(Box Office opens an hour and a half prior
to the show for ticket purchase)
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Impressive Upcoming Reading at Ford
FORD'S THEATRE OPENS
SBC 2005-2006 READING SEASON
Tony Award winner Judith Ivey, Ted van Griethuysen
Rich Foucheux, Nancy Robinette
PULITZER PRIZE WINNING
STATE OF THE UNION
Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
MONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 7:00 P.M.
WASHINGTON, DC-- Ford's Theatre opens its SBC 2005-2006 Reading Series on Monday, October 24, 7:00 p.m., with the 1946 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, State of the Union, by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Broadway's two-time Tony Award winner Judith Ivey headlines this political power play along with Washington’s own Ted van Griethuysen, Rick Foucheux and Nancy Robinette.
State of the Union, in 1945, played a brief engagement in Washington en route to Broadway and into history as the 1946 Pulitzer Prize winner for drama. Despite the years, this tale of raw political ambition continues to resonate with contemporary audiences with its biting portrayal of political Washington and its endless campaigns and perpetual quests for the holy grail of politics, the White House. In its humorous, non-partisan fashion State of the Union skewers Republicans and Democrats alike as it takes acerbic digs at the usual suspects such as labor, foreign policy, the United Nations and the press, among others.
Lindsay and Crouse wrote Life With Father and the books for The Sound of Music and Call Me Madam.
Ford’s SBC Readings are free and open to the public. However, to reserve free seats, please call
(202) 347-6262. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., Monday, October 24.
Ford’s Theatre Society
Ford’s Theatre Society is a not-for-profit corporation created to produce live entertainment on Ford’s historic stage. Paul R. Tetreault is Producing Director. It is the mission of the Ford’s Theatre Society to honor President Lincoln and his love for the theatre by producing plays and musicals that celebrate and explore the American experience as revealed by America’s greatest theatre artists.
Ford’s SBC Reading Series is made possible by a generous grant from SBC Communications.
Friday, October 07, 2005
This Just In: One More Pay-What-You-Can on Saturday
By Marie Ndiaye
Translated by Erika Rundel
Directed by Carey Perloff
Starring Ellen Karas
Dates: October 5 - October 23, 2005
Where: At The Studio Theater 14th and P Streets NW in the Metheny Theatre
Saturday October 8th at 2:30pm
Tickets go on sale two hours before the performance on a first-come, first-served basis.
"A chilling and erotic blue-state horror story that pierces the heart of liberal guilt."
- The Contra Costa Times
Hilda tells the haunting story of an upper-class woman's consuming obsession with the woman she hires to care for her children. With stark cinematic undertones, Hilda is a potent and provocative look at the seductiveness of control. Hilda was chosen by the French Critics Association as the Best New Play of 2002.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
more discounted or free shows
And with all there is to see, what did I choose? Ami Dayan's "Upshot." Long, rambling at times incoherent play about a character who challenges his playwright. (One character in search of an author, or at least in search of better play). I still make lousy choices. Perhaps readers of this blog will make better ones!
** DISCOUNT TICKETS **
35% off tickets to
William Shakespeare's OTHELLO
Shakespeare Theatre Company
Avery Brooks and Patrick Page return to Washington, DC in OTHELLO, now playing at the Shakespeare Theatre Company through October 30th.
Artistic Director Michael Kahn directs Shakespeare's classic tragedy of a love destroyed by jealousy. Provoked by the treacherous Iago's lies, Othello begins to mistrust his loyal bride, Desdemona. As his suspicions rise, Othello collapses under the weight of his self-doubt, eventually destroying his once-happy marriage. With poetry rivaling King Lear and with the psychological depth of Hamlet, Shakespeare constructs a highly charged tale of prejudice, revenge and the destruction of innocence.
"The production is so fresh that you feel you are hearing and seeing Shakespeare's drama for the first time."
- The Washingtonian
"An Othello so fine that I don't see how it could be bettered, except maybe by bringing it to Broadway, where more people can see it."
- The Wall Street Journal
Save 35% on tickets for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings.
Tuesday 7:30pm / Wednesday 12:00pm & 7:30pm / Thursday 8:00pm / Friday 8:00pm / Saturday 2:00pm & 8:00pm / Sunday 2:00pm & 7:30pm
TICKETS: Call 202.547.1122 and mention code 2356 (if outside the DC Metro area, call toll-free at 1.877.487.8849)
*Conditions: Discount based on availability. Valid only for performances on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings. Not valid in combination with any other offer. Not valid on previously purchased tickets.
PROFESSIONAL COMPS FOR THOSE WORKING IN THE THEATRE COMMUNITY - see specified performances
MORNINGS AT SEVEN at Olney Theatre Center
I'm a member of your lists, and I work for Olney Theatre Center. Our management is offering professional comps for selected performances of Morning's at Seven by Paul Osborn. List members may be interested that starring in this show are local actors Halo Wines, James Slaughter, and Anne Stone.
PROFESSIONAL COMPS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE FOLLOWING PERFORMANCES OF MORNING'S AT SEVEN:
Friday, October 7 at 8:00 pm
Wednesday, October 12 at 8:00 pm
Thursday, October 13 at 8:00 pm
TO RSVP, just call the box office (301.924.3400) and mention "LOWT" to get complimentary tickets!
JANE: ABORTION AND THE UNDERGROUND
Sat, Oct 8
Venus Theatre invites you to a free reading at Touchstone Gallery
406 7th St., NW
Saturday Oct. 8
wRighting Women: A Venus Theatre Staged Reading presents...
JANE: ABORTION AND THE UNDERGROUND
(A dramatic documentary of Chicago's revolutionary abortion service and its roots, 1965-1973) by Paula Kamen
Getting as close to the Capitol as possible, Venus Theatre welcomes Chief Justice Roberts into office with Paula Kamen's work. www.paulakamen.com
Paula Kamen, a Chicago journalist, is the author of All in My Head: An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable, and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache.
She has held the position of "Visiting Research Scholar" with Northwestern University's Gender Studies Program since 1994. Her commentaries and book reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Salon, Ms., Chicago Tribune, In These Times, and more than a dozen anthologies. This includes Shiny Adidas Track Suits and the Death of Camp: The Best of Might Magazine (Berkley Boulevard, 1998) and Appeal to Reason: The Best 25 Years of In These Times (Seven Stories, 2002).
In theater work, she has had three plays produced. This includes Jane: Abortion and the Underground -- about the legendary pre-Roe feminist abortion service, which is just beginning to be produced throughout the country on college campuses. The play was excerpted in several anthologies, including The Best Women's Monologues '99 and The Best Stage Scenes '99 (Smith & Kraus, 2001). Writing in the Chicago Reader, critic Kim Wilson said, "Everyone -- but women especially -- should hear this story."
PROFESSIONAL COMPS FOR THE THEATRE INDUSTRY
IT HAD TO BE YOU
Prof; Comps: Wed & Thurs, Oct 5 & 6
Must close Sat, Oct 8
"a love story with sass." *
Join the laughter at The American Century Theater, this Wednesday and Thursday evening at 8 PM. Please call for reservations and seat availablity.
"brazen abandon...daffy...zaniness" Washington Post
"Miss Shotts' Theda is a comic masterpiece...tears up the stage" Washington Times
"hearty laughs" Potomac Stages
"laugh-out-loud funny" Arlington Weekly News TV
"flat out funny" DC Theatre Reviews
Cast: Mark Adams and Karen Jadlos Shotts
It Had to Be You is at the American Century Theater for one final week. The production is at Theater II, Gunston Arts Center, 2700 S. Lang Street, Arlington, Virginia 22206. For reservations please phone 703-553-8782 or write firstname.lastname@example.org
RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET
A rock 'n' roll staging of Shakespeare's The Tempest set in outer space!
Fri, Oct 7
The Hood College Center for the Humanities and the Office of Student
RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET
Performed by the Blackfriars Stage Company
(formerly known as the Shenandoah Shakespeare Traveling Troupe)
October 7th at 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm)
FREE and open to the public.
No advance tickets - come early to get a good seat!
For more information, visit www.hood.edu
A DELICATE BALANCE by Edward Albee
Fri, Sat & Sun: Oct 7, 8, & 9
The National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts presents The Fourth Semester Actors Showcase of A Delicate Balance by Edward Albee
Rehearsal Project Instructor Barra Kahn
This showcase features students in their fourth semester of the Conservatory Acting Program . Having spent the last three semesters working their craft in the rehearsal process on Greek, Shakespeare, and Commedia dell'Arte these actors now embark upon realism. Please join us for this important next stage in their training as they have the opportunity to share their work for the first time with a public audience.
The Fourth Semester Ensemble:
Julia Fanning, Christopher McArdle, Elizabeth O'Callaghan, Lynn Ritland, Kjartan Thorarinsson, Nancy Viemeister
October 7th & 8th @ 8:00 pm
October 9th @ 2:00 pm
All shows are free.
Reservations are suggested: NCDAdrama@aol.com
The Conservatory and Theatre are located at 1556 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
The Theatre entrance is on Volta Place between Wisconsin Ave. and 33rd Street -
rear of the building
If you would like to join our e-mail list to receive regular updates about free events and shows at The Conservatory e-mail us at NCDAdrama@aol.com
EARLY MORNING IMPROV IS BACK
They said it could never happen! So we had them beheaded.
The Early Monday Morning Show, Baltimore's Premiere Comedy Improv Troupe, is proud to announce the Premiere of their 6th Season! After over 100 shows at clubs and theatres all across Maryland, what could we possibly offer at this point?
Come out and see our exciting new cast, a musical tribute to musical tributes, and a special surprise guest star or three this Saturday, Oct 8th, at the Mobtown Theatre! Doors open at 8pm and tickets are only $8. That's a lot of 8's!
Check out www.mobtown.net
** ONSTAGE **
WIT'S IMPROV JAM
Sun, Oct 9
Show your support for Washington's ever-growing improv community with
WIT's continuing series of Improv Jams!
On the second Sunday of each month, drop in and check out the latest
offerings from DC's improv scene, from local college troupes to
showcase performances by visiting guests. And be sure to jump in on the
Lottery Jams, where teams are cast on the spot for performances that
very night. Anyone can play!
Come one. Come all. Come ready to Jam.
$5 | SU 10.9 | 7:00PM
Flashpoint's Mead Theatre Lab | 916 G St NW
Tickets available at the door only
ALL MY SONS by Arthur Miller
Opens Sat, Oct 8th
ALL MY SONS, written by Arthur Miller, directed by Sherrionne Brown at SPOTLIGHTERS Theatre.
Described by the Baltimore SUN as - "artistically directed and wonderfully acted"
Joe Keller and Steve Deever ran a machine shop that made airplane parts ~ defective cylinder heads that caused many deaths during World War I. Deever was sent to jail; Keller made a fortune. This catastrophe and the fact that Keller's younger son was reported MIA dominate the play. Love affairs and freedom vs. incarceration are all themes these characters must face that lead up to a fitting conclusion.
Running through Saturday, October 8th at SPOTLIGHTERS Theatre (817 St. Paul St, Baltimore, MD 21202) with shows at 8PM Friday and Saturday. Adult Tickets $15; Students, Seniors and BTA Members $12 and Groups of 15 or more $10. Cash and Credit Cards accepted at the Box Office. Lobby and Box Office opens one hour prior to curtain, with seating approximately 30 minutes before curtain.
SPOTLIGHTERS Theatre is handicap accessible by request, for more information, please contact the theatre at (410) 752-1225.
Tickets can be purchased by Mission Tix at www.missiontix.com
Upcoming PWYCans and cheap seats
You Are Here
By Daniel MacIvor
Directed by Gregg Henry
Featuring Jennifer Mendenhall with Tim Carlin, Kathleen Coons, Brian
Hemmingsen, Annie Houston, Daniel Ladmirault, Casie Platt, Michael Russotto and
October 13 - November 13, 2005
"One of the most moving moments on stage in recent
memory." -- Toronto Star
Set among the infidelities of movie directors, starlets
and magazine writers, "A one woman show with
twelve characters" is how playwright Daniel MacIvor
descibes this OBIE Award winning drama. One of
Canada's most respected theater artists, MacIvor
has written a soul-bearing story of a woman's
attempt to share with the audience the connections
between who she was & what she has become.
But once her tale begins, the characters involved
begin appearing even when she does not want them
to as she loses control and the story of her life
begins to tell itself.
Regular Tix: 1-800-494-8497 or go to
October 13th at 8pm
October 14th at 8pm
October 16th at 2pm
Only at the H Street Playhouse [Just off Capitol Hill]
1365 H Street, NEDC
[202 396-2125 or 202-544-0703]
H Street runs in an east-west direction just behind the U.S. Capitol &
Union Station. There is ample on-street parking available after rush hour
See Theater Alliance web site for direction map.
Sponsored by the Canadian Embassy
Round House Silver Spring
October 14 - November 6
by Eugene Ionesco
"Allows a new generation to embrace the modernity of The Chairs."
FRENCH DIRECTOR ALAIN TIMAR RESTAGES
his acclaimed production of Ionesco's absurdist
play, seen at the 2002 Avignon Festival. His fresh
interpretation casts a pair of young actors as an
elderly man & woman who organize a reception
for a group of imaginary dignitaries. The chairs are
assembled, but the guests are invisible! Don't miss
this exciting theatrical event, performed in English
and re-imagined for an American audience.
Wed, 7:30 pm
Thurs & Fri, 8:00 pm
Sat, 3:00 pm & 8:00 pm
Sun, 3:00 pm
Regular Tickets: $20 - $50
PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN PREVIEW PERFORMANCES
Fri 14 Oct 8pm and Sat 15 Oct 3pm
Two tickets per person cash only
Tickets on sale one hour before performance
Info: 240-644-1100 or go to http://www.roundhousetheatre.org/
Round House Theatre Silver Spring
8641 Colesville Road * Metro: Silver Spring on Red Line
** DISCOUNT TICKETS **
50% off tickets (see how to order below)
Woolly Mammoth's AFTER ASHLEY by Gina Gionfriddo
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner
SYNOPSIS: In this blisteringly funny and heartbreakingly truthful satire, a teenager is unwillingly thrust into the national spotlight when a family tragedy becomes talk-show fodder. Focusing a critical eye on our obsession with reality TV and public grieving, this critically-acclaimed new work takes a no-holds barred look at how the American media and the line between reporting the truth and exploiting it.
Cast: Woolly company members BRUCE NELSON & MICHAEL WILLIS with DEANNA MCGOVERN, PAUL MORELLA, MARNI PENNING& MARK SULLIVAN
Save 50% off every ticket ordered!
Use discount code AAEM online ( www.woollymammoth.net
by calling 202-393-3939
(Subject to availability. Not valid with other discounts or previously purchased tickets. Other restrictions may apply.)
Schedule: Wed - Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm & 7pm.
At Woolly Mammoth Theatre
641 D Street, NW (7th & D)
"A TERRIFIC NEW PLAY...A SPLENDID CAST...If smarter more emotionally true work has been done on a DC stage this season, I've not seen it" - Washington City Paper
"PROVOCATIVE...FULL OF UNEXPECTED, BITING HUMOR" - Washingtonian
"A SCATHINGLY NO-HOLDS-BARRED SATIRE" - The Daily Colonial
"SHARP, THOUGHTFUL & HIGHLY ENTERTAINING...this is a very Woolly comedy, the kind of contemporary, cutting edge material that this company does so well" - PotomacStages.com
Pay What You Can
KING LEAR by William Shakespeare
Directed by Irene Lewis
Run Dates: September 23 - November 6, 2005
PWYCs: Selected performances starting Friday, Sept 23
CENTERSTAGE invites you, your staff, volunteers, and clients to take advantage of the following special Pay What You Can ticket offer. Please feel free to pass this invitation along and JOIN US!
What father wouldn't relish a little gratitude, and what child wouldn?t tell daddy he comes first? When Lear decides to divide his kingdom according to which daughter loves him best, maybe he ought to come up with a better way to judge their feelings. After all, how sharper than a serpent?s tooth it is to have a thankless child. And these snakes can really bite.
PAY WHAT YOU CAN tickets are available for these performances:
* Preview Friday, 9/23
* Thursday, 10/6
* Friday, 10/7
* Wednesday, 10/12
PAY WHAT YOU CAN tickets go on sale Monday, September 19th at 10 a.m. & will remain on sale through THURSDAY, September 22rd (or until they sell out). Two tickets per person/household, minimum $1.00 per ticket. Cash Only. Tickets must be purchased in person. Tickets are first-come-first-serve, non-refundable, and non-exchangeable. All sales are final. For more ticket information, call 410.332.0033.
410.986.4000 ext 4110
700 N. Calvert Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Saturday, October 01, 2005
The Rude Mechanicals: A Great Invitation
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF KING JOHN by William Shakespeare
He died twice last weekend, that leaves two deaths to go! Come and see "The Life and Death of King John" as performed by The Rude Mechanicals. You'll never be the same...
Who says history has to be interesting? The Rude Mechanicals questionably present "The Life and Death of King John" on Friday and Saturday at 8PM, September 23rd, 24th, 30th, and 31st. By saving on the cost of printing "and October 1st", they are able to charge a mere
$10 for admission. Another of Shakespeare's top forty plays guaranteed to transport you to Laurel High School's Seller's Cafetorium where the stifling heat, deafening air conditioning, excruciating chairs, and penultimate performance will simultaneously stupefy, mesmerize,
paralyze, and euthanize you. Come see why this so seldom performed play is so seldom performed as it is so seldom performed so well.
"Bring a book!" - The Baltimore City Paper
thumbnail reviews of what's on, from Gary in Silver Spring
Perhaps there is hope for that paper. And certainly a lot to choose from in theater!
*After Ashley --Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Playwright and D.C. native Gina Gionfriddo delves into our fascination with the preyed-upon in this brashly funny, disquieting play. Ashley Hammond, the wife of a Washington newspaper reporter and mother of a resentful 14-year-old, is brutally raped and murdered by a man hired to do yardwork. Her son's excruciating call to 911 makes him a celebrity, and her husband's heart-tugging book, "After Ashley,"
becomes a best-seller and springboard to a TV show with "tasteful" re-enactments of the crimes, which Ashley's husband hosts. The play vividly satirizes a society that claims to be horrified by violence, yet fetishizes its images. It's overwritten and mines the same angry territory over and over again, but the characters are compelling and the agile cast members add nuance to their roles.
Through Oct. 16. 202/393-3939. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.
A BEST BET IN THIS THEATERGOERS EYES. GOOD SCRIPT & DIRECTION MARRIED TO FINE ACTING. TRY TO SEE IT!
°Aida. Toby's Dinner Theatre. The Elton John-Tim Rice version of
Giuseppe Verdi's opera is a pastiche of Broadway belters, easy-listening rock 'n' roll and pop balladry. Yet the story of a princess caught between trying to save her people and her love for a conflicted Egyptian soldier packs an emotional wallop. Credit a deeply felt, wrenching performance by Felicia Curry as the Nubian-princess-turned-Egyptian-slave Aida, and equally affecting acting and singing by Russell Sunday as the soldier Radames and Janine Gulisano as Amneris, the third side of the tragic love triangle. Through Nov. 20. 301/596-6161.
Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.
SEEING THIS TOMORROW EVENING IN THE COMPANY OF PABLO, HIS MOM & ONE OF HIS SISTERS. HAVE NO DOUBTS WE WILL BE HAPPY THEATRE CAMPERS. [Wendy: It's supposed to be terrific, far better than the Kennedy Center or NY productions.]
°Camille. Round House Theatre Bethesda. Playwright Neil
Bartlett returned to Alexandre Dumas fils' original 1848 novel for his base version of "La Dame aux Camelias." Dumas portrayed a money-mad, licentious world where champagne and drugs were in plentiful supply and women were sexual, mercenary creatures. Mr. Bartlett strips away even more of the tale's romantic conventions in this adaptation, which puts a price tag on everyone and leaves no trace of romantic flourishes. Women are floozies, men are cads, scandal is all. The
delicate beauty of Angela Reed as Marguerite contrasts with the character's hearty, cursing style, while Aubrey Deeker as Armand seems almost too fragile to live. Their love scenes are animalistic and no-frills. It's an unfettered, brutal version of "Camille" that strips away everything but meanness and avarice. Through Oct. 16. 240/644-1100. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.
PAUL & I ENJOYED THIS MUCH MORE THAN MS. BLANCHARD. IT'S DOWNRIGHT PHYSICAL & ALMOST SEXUALLY BRUTAL. WE ENJOYED THE CAST & THE STAGING VERY MUCH. NOT A HOME RUN FOR THE NEW ROUND HOUSE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR. BUT A THREE BASE HIT THE FIRST TIME OUT IS NOT BAD.
°The Disputation. Theatre J. Playwright and scholar Hyam Maccoby's
costume drama dramatizes the Barcelona Disputation of 1263, a four-day
confrontation between a Christian and a Jewish thinker at a time when lurid stereotypes about Jews ran rampant. The meeting, set up at the urging of Pope Urban IV, pitted the outspoken Rabbi Moses Ben Nachman (Theodore Bikel) against Pablo Christiani (Edward Gero), a Jew who became a Catholic and a Dominican friar. The pope hoped that the Christian arguments would be so convincing that masses of Jews would convert. Director Nick Olcott brings force and conviction to the
debate scenes, but though the play engages on the intellectual level it is largely inert dramatically. And stacked as it is against Christianity, its one-sidedness makes it as missionary-minded as the religious extremists it purports to criticize. Through Sunday at the D.C. Jewish Community Center. 800/494-8497. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.
IT TOOK ME ABT 45 MINUTES TO REALLY GET INTO THIS. BUT ONCE
BIKEL & SHAKESPEARE THEATRE MEMBERS GERO & LONG TAKE THE STAGE I WAS HOOKED. RECOMMENDED IF YOU CAN GET A TICKET.
°Dracula. Synetic Theater. The lobby walls of the Rosslyn Spectrum
are dripping blood, strings of scarlet fabric oozing down to the floor. And Synetic Theater's fever-dream vision of the Dracula legend delivers--and then some--in an erotic and highly charged production directed by Paata Tsikurishvili, with sensuous choreography by Irina Tsikurishvili. This is a perfect project for Synetic, bringing together the intrinsic theatricality of the vampire myth with the troupe's original blend of movement, dance, spoken word, music
and dazzling visuals. Not since the heyday of Anne Rice's vampire Lestat novels have we seen such a sexy and epic look at the undead. You'll start wishing they sold garlic necklaces at the concession stand. Through Oct. 30 at the
Rosslyn Spectrum. 202/462-5364. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.
I WANT TO SEE THIS BEFORE THE RUN CONCLUDES.
*It Had To Be You. American Century Theater. Joe Bologna and
Renee Taylor's pleasing romantic comedy combines the show business comedy with the classic theme that people who at first seem so wrong for each other can turn out to be an inspired match. As the B-movie actress who holds an unctuous TV commercial producer hostage in her pigsty of an apartment after casual sex-- torturing him with feverishly acted scenes from her one-woman play about a
Russian lady who gets crucified upside down--Karen Jadlos Shotts is a comic masterpiece. Daffy and big-hearted, she explodes like a Bloomingdale's shopping bag, spilling color, texture and grab-bag style in her wake. Mark Adams as the producer is congenial but bland. Yet the play's stubborn sense of romance prevails. Through Oct. 8 at Theater II, Gunston Arts Center. 703/553-8782.
Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.
I'VE HEARD SOME GOOD THINGS ABT THIS SHOW FROM A FEW FOLKS.
WILL TRY & GET OVER TO ARLINGTON TO SEE IT BEFORE CLOSING DAY.
°A Number. Studio Theatre °X ...1/2.British playwright Caryl Churchill has a way of making the familiar frightening. A night-terror quality grips her newest work and lends the cliche "a chip off the old block" a threatening aura as the seedy Englishman Salter (Ted van Griethuysen) breaks it to his anguished son Bernard (Tom Story) that he, Bernard, is a clone, cooked up in a Petri dish after Salter's "original" son supposedly died. Moreover, there is not one, but at least 20 Bernards running around °X and Salter meets many of them.
The virtuoso actors, directed with ferocious economy by Joy Zinoman, do a nimble dance--the elder fascinated and repelled by what he has made, the younger longing for identity and yet a breed apart from his creator. It's a profound and confounding play that makes you question modern technologies and new societies seeking to "improve" on old ways of being. Through Oct. 16. 202/332-3300.
Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.
STAGING & ACTING DOESN'T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS. BUT THE ONE HOUR SHOW FELT TO ME MORE LIKE AN INTRODUCTORY TO A PLAY RATHER THAN A FULLY REALIZED WORK.
°Othello. The Shakespeare Theatre. In this emotionally charged new
production, expertly directed by Michael Kahn, stars Avery Brooks and Patrick Page break new ground with their unconventional interpretations. Mr. Brooks' brave portrayal of Othello is deep and comprehensive, adding sophistication and touching vulnerability to a seemingly two-dimensional character. Mr. Page as Iago conjures forth the icy instincts of a true psychopath, a loveless,
guiltless individual caring little for the death and mayhem left in his wake. The ensemble cast adds notable heft. The result is a superb opening act for the company's 2005-2006 season. Through Oct. 30. 202/547-1122. Reviewed by T.L. Ponick.
THIS OTHELLO HAS SHAKESPEARE THEATRE STARTING THE SEASON OFF WITH A BANG! YOU JUST LOVE HATING THE CONNIVING OF PAGE AS IAGO. LIKED HIM IN THIS MUCH BETTER THAN WHEN HE WAS MACBETH ON THIS SAME STAGE. I FIND BROOKS A VERY QUIRKY-MANNERED ACTOR & AT TIMES THIS WILL WORK AGAINST HIM. NOT IN THIS CASE WHERE HE IS BELIEVABLE AS THE JEALOUS CONFLICTED OTHELLO. FINE SUPPORTING CAST FINELY TUNED BY DIRECTOR KAHN. HAVE TO AGREE WITH A LOCAL DIRECTOR,
NAMELESS, WHO ASKED: "WHAT WAS THAT INDIAN FORT LOOKING SET ALL ABT?"
°Passion Play, a Cycle. Kreeger Theater, Arena Stage. Young
playwright Sarah Ruhl uses productions of the Passion Play from three different epochs--Elizabethan England, 1934 Germany and the late-20th-century American Midwest--as a frame to explore the inherent theatricality in politics and religion in this world-premiere three-play work. Molly Smith directs with a flair for
both religious pomp and carnival-style hurly-burly, providing a potent visual stew of iconic and startlingly original imagery. Set designer Scott Bradley echoes traditional biblical and religious art in the use of the tableaux. The actors dive into the multiple permutations of their roles with relish, and all are superb. Robert Dorfman's deft impersonations of famous figures --Queen Elizabeth I, Adolf Hitler and Ronald Reagan --are electrifying. The first two parts of the cycle are satisfying, but the third seems unfinished and raw, making the whole little more than a passing parade of human history, one that is all
performance, no soul. Through Oct 16. 202/488-3300. Reviewed by Jayne
FOR MY MONEY THE THIRD ACT, COMMISSIONED BY ARENA, OF THIS
AMBITIOUS UNDERTAKING WAS THE ONE THAT WORKED THE BEST. I ALMOST DEPARTED AFTER THE 2ND ACT BUT WAS ENCOURAGED TO STAY BY PABLO WHO WAS GETTING MUCH MORE FROM THE EVENING THAN I. THE 1ST ACT IS THE FIRST PLAY EVER WRITTEN BY MS. RUHL. HER TRULY WONDERFUL 2005 PULITZER CONTENDER "A CLEAN HOUSE, " IT PLAYED WOOLLY A FEW MONTHS BACK, WAS THE MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE THIS WORK. JETTISON THE FIRST TWO ACTS IN FUTURE. HAVE MS. RUHL WORK ON THE 3RD ONE WHERE I SEE THE GENESIS OF A FULL BODIED TWO ACT PLAY ABT MILITARY FOLKS & POST WAR SYNDROME.
THE SOUTH DAKOTA PASSION PLAY COULD STILL BE THERE AS A SUBTEXT.
AN INTERESTING EXPERIMENT BY ARENA STAGE THAT WILL NOT HAVE LEGS AROUND THE COUNTRY IN REGIONAL THEATRE. THERE IS GOOD ACTING ALL AROUND, AS WELL AS DIRECTION BY MS.
SMITH. BUT IT WAS THE ACTRESS IN THE ROLE OF VILLAGE IDIOT THAT MADE A SPECIAL MARK IN THE MEMORY BANK. RECOMMENDED ONLY IF YOU LIKE YOUR THEATRE OUTING TO LAST AS LONG AS "GONE WITH THE WIND."