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The Play's the Thing, the Thing, and the Other Thing: The Blood Quilt, Jumpers for Goalposts, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, reviewed.
My reviews of — in alphabetical order — the new play The Blood Quilt, the debuting-in-the-U.S. play Jumpers for Goalposts, and the postmodern chestnut Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, are all in this week's Washington City Paper. Except for the latter two of the three, which are online-only. Find them via the links above.
It's a strong week for theatre here in our Nation's Capitol. My reviews of The Originalist, Arena Stage playwright-in-residence John Strand's much-awaited play about Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and United States v. Windsor, and Forum Theatre's magnificent production of Sarah Ruhl's Passion Play, are in today's Washington City Paper. Go read 'em. Please.
I did mention in my draft how similar The Originalist is to Red – the John Logan-penned Arena Stage show from 2012 wherein Originalist star Ed Gero played a different colossal American, the painter Mark Rothko, yelling at a young assistant haunted by a parental tragedy. But I only get one page in the paper, so something had to go.
FURTHER READING: My 2010 review of the prior play I saw about a Supreme Court Justice, wherein Laurence Fishburne played Thurgood Marshall, whose tenure on the court overlapped with Scalia's from Sept. 1986 to Oct. 1991. And United States v. Windsor, in its game-changing entirety.
In today's snow-day edition of the Washington City Paper, I review the second installment in Washington Stage Guild's three-part, three-year presentation of George Bernard Shaw's Back to Methuselah and of the world-premiere John Kander-Greg Pierce musical Kid Victory. Around Town videos wherein Robert Aubry Davis, Jane Horwitz, the gigantic lapels of my shirt, and I dissect these differently taxing shows are here and here.
This acrobatic Moreau is a rich sensual experience, one that deflates at the end but not before it has vividly dramatized Wells’s big question: Is physical suffering at best irrelevant and at worst necessary? Can we evolve by teaching ourselves to ignore it? By way of demonstrating his answer, Moreau takes a glinting blade and slices a red trail through his own forearm, ignoring the pain like he’s Peter O’Toole playing Lawrence of Arabia, or Gordon Liddy playing himself, or Gary Busey playing Mr. Joshua. (In Lethal Weapon, duh. Read a book, why don't you.) We always hurt the ones we’re forcibly trying to improve.
My review of Synetic Theater's new adaptation of The Island of Dr. Moreau is in today's Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away for free.
Its cover feature is "The DC Manual of Style and Usage," the handy and hilarious brainchild of my editor, Jonathan L. Fischer, who announced this week that he's leaving his post as the Washington City Paper's managing editor to become a senior editor at Slate. He's a meticulous, imaginative, patient editor who always smartened-up my copy, and a genius at punny headlines and captions. (Here's just one example.) I look forward to working for him again.
My review of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company's production of David Adjmi's Marie Antoinette, starring the great Kimberly Gilbert, is in today's Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away for free.
I can't think of another time I've had as visceral and angry a reaction to a play as I did to Jackie Sibblies Drury's We Are Proud to Present. It takes a lot of gall to sit down with the intent of illuminating a little-known genocide and then decide, at some point during the writing process, to make it all about you.
Profiles of the playwright in the New York Times and the Washington Post cover this. I still kind of want to see the zombie play mentioned in the Times piece, but its revelation that she puts emoticons in her stage directions is unsurprising in light of the clumsiness of We Are Proud, wherein Drury chooses a hacky, wrongheaded premise and then executes it in a way that devolves from merely dull to actually loathsome.
My review of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company's production is in today's Washington City Paper, along with a review of Spooky Action Theatre's local premiere of Brazilian playwright Nelson Rodrigues's surreal 1943 play The Wedding Dress.
No one was more excited than I was when the Folger Theatre announced that Drew Cortese -- a standout player from Studio's The Motherfucker with the Hat last year -- would play Richard III. The show is good, but not the radical reinvention I'd hoped it might be. Read all about it in today’s Washington City Paper.