Category Archives: theatre

On the FringeCasting Couch with Live Action Theatre

And this episode of The FringeCasting Couch was recorded last Tuesday afternoon, during a brief interval between a depressing visit to my doctor’s office and the two fitness classes I had to teach that evening; one boxing and one boot camp. This were necessarily verbal-instruction-only editions of said classes for me; doctor’s orders. Nothing feels worse.

Anyway, I’m a big fan of Live Action Theatre. Their show in the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival, The Continuing Adventures of John Blade, Super Spy, was my favorite last year. I liked their new one, The Tournament, so much that I’m leaving to see it for a second time right now. Here’s the original Fringeworthy post.

I had them on the podcast last year, too.

On The FringeCasting Couch with Twanna A. Hines

For the fifth consecutive year, I’m running the Washington City Paper’s coverage of the Capital Fringe Festival here in DC, manifest mainly through a blog previously known as Fringe & Purge that we decided this year to rename Fringeworthy. In 2012, I started The Fringe & PurgeCast to accompany that blog; its rebranding this summer forced me to rethink the podcast’s name, too. The Fringe & PurgeCast is dead; long live The FringeCasiting Couch.

I’m not cross-posting most of the stuff I’m doing for Fringeworthy, but I’m going to put up a couple of recent episodes of the podcast that I thought were particularly fun. This one, which I recorded last night with Twanna A. Hines, whose show is called I Füçkèð Your Country, is one of those. The original post is here.

The Battle of Los Angeles: Rodney King, reviewed.

Roger Guenveur Smith performs his haunting and perceptive 65-minute monologue "Rodney King."My review of Rodney King, Roger Guenveur Smith’s one-man play about the man he calls “the first reality TV star,” is in this week’s Washington City Paper.

Out of Her Tree: Enter Ophelia, distracted, reviewed.

Erin White, Katie Murphy, Kimberly Gilbert, and Eleni Grove in Enter Ophelia, distracted. Photo by Teresa Castracane.

reviewed the great Kimberly Gilbert’s passion project Enter Ophelia, distracted, for the Washington City Paper this week. Continue reading

Drone Unknowns: Grounded, reviewed.

 

My review of Grounded, a George Brant’s solo play about a drone pilot, is in today’s Washington City Paper

Lucy Ellinson in the Gate Theatre production of George Brant’s Grounded.

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Julie Taymor Probably Hates Pink Even More Now

Panel from The Amazing Spider-Man #21, by Stan Lee 7 Steve Ditko.“Julie hated pink. It also seemed as if she could discern gradations of red on the electromagnetic spectrum that no one else could. Humans are ‘trichromats,’ meaning we have three different types of cone cells in our eyes. However, it has been surmised that because of the XX chromosome, some women may possess a fourth variant cone cell, situated between the standard red and green cones. This would make them — like birds — ‘tetrachromats.’ These hypothetical tetrachromats would have the ability to distinguish between two colors a trichchromat would call identical. Continue reading

Strange We Can Believe In: The Totalitarians and Kwaidan, reviewed.

Emily Townley in Rober O'Hara's production of  Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's "The Totalitarians" for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.

Two towering comic performances make Robert O’Hara’s “rolling world premiere” production a must-see: Emily Townley’s, plus Dawn Ursula’s as Francine Jefferson, a campaign manager who sees Townley’s Penelope as an obedient blank canvas on which she can paint her ticket out of Nebraska. The piece opens with Francine rolling around in bed in her underwear, oblivious to her simpering husband’s pleas for sex as she tries to come up with an indelible three-word campaign slogan. “Freedom From Fear” is the pithy nothing she lands on. Or, since nobody has time for that mouthful: “Fuh Fuh Fuh.” (It’s the economy of phrasing, stupid.)

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Freud Where Prohibited: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Freud’s Last Session, reviewed, plus some Frank (Britton) discussion.

In today’s Washington City Paper, I review two plays that mull over free will and the existence of God, both of which feature Sigmund Freud as a character. The better of the pair, Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, features a towering performance from Frank Britton as Pontius Pilate.

Around 2:15 Tuesday morning, after he’d left the cast party that followed Judas‘ opening-night performance, Britton was assaulted and robbed by four or five unidentified attackers near the Silver Spring Metro stop. He underwent surgery at Holy Cross Hospital to treat a broken cheekbone. Britton does not have medical insurance. A crowdfunding campaign to cover his hospital bills (donate here) has raised over $45,000 so far.
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Sometimes It Smarts, Being a Smartie: Charm and Bloody Poetry, reviewed.

Tonya Beckman, Dan Crane, Ian Armstrong, and Esther Williams in Howard Brenton's "Bloody Poetry." (Teresa Castracane/Taffety Punk)My review of Taffety Punk Theatre Company’s “Rulebreaker Rep” –Kathleen Cahill’s Charm, about pioneering feminist Margaret Fuller, and Howard Brenton’s Bloody Poetry, about free-loving romantics of the early 19th century — is in today’s Washington City Paper. Continue reading

When In Glam: Nero/Pseudo, reviewed.

Bradley Foster Smith in "Nero / Pseudo."

Richard Byrne’s original glam musical Nero / Pseudo, featuring songs by Jon Langford and Jim Elkington, needs a little more Caligula, I conclude in my Washington City Paper review. Still, it’s a project worth following — and I’ve been following it for a couple of years.

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An Athenian, a Broad: The Love of the Nightingale, reviewed.

Matthew Schleigh, Megan Dominy, and Rena Cherry Brown in The Love of the Nightingale. Photograph by Stan Barouh.

“It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” is how James Brown and Betty Jean Newsome said it in 1966. (And Brown denied Newsome’s contributions to the song in court decades later, as if to prove the title correct.)

“Woman Is the Nigger of the World,” is how John Lennon and Yoko Ono said it in 1972.

“Every man has a choice to make: Commitment, or new pussy?” is how Chris Rock said it in 1996.

And The Love of the Nightingale is how Sophocles said it two-and-a-half millennia earlier, give or take, which got filtered through Ovid’s brain four centuries later, and then British playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker’s just eight years ago. In her astute update of the sad story of Philomele and Procne, Wertenbaker dares to have one of her characters, an innocent, ask what a myth is.

“The oblique image of an unwanted truth, reverberating through time,” comes the answer.

And the unwanted truth reverberating, hard, through The Love of the Nightingale is this: Men. Are. Dogs.

Woof.

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Hard (Nineteen Twenty-)Eight: The Threepenny Opera and Failure: A Love Story, reviewed.

And now, two plays with music, one from 1928 and one set in 1928. My reviews of Signature Theatre’s new production of The Threepenny Opera as well as the hub theatre’s local premiere of Philip Dawkins’ Failure: A Love Story, are in today’s Washington City Paper. Continue reading

Planet Bard: NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage, reviewed.

Kevin Space as "Richard III" at the Old Vic, London, 2011.

Over on The Dissolve today, I review the documentary-with-pretentious-title NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage, about the Bridge Theatre Project’s globetrotting Sam Mendes-directed, Kevin Spacey-starring Richard III. Continue reading

The Prince of Wails: Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2, reviewed.

Edward Gero as King Henry IV in the Shakespeare Theatre's repertory of "Henry IV, Part 1" and "Part 2," directed by Michael Kahn.

That’s Edward Gero as King Henry IV. I found out only the other day he was in Die Hard 2: Die Harder, a film I loved in 1990 but which has not aged as well as Die Hard or even Die Hard with a Vengeance. I probably didn’t talk about him enough in my tangled but enthusiastic Washington City Paper review of both parts of the Shakespeare Theatre’s Company’s new, Michael Kahn-directed repertory of Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2. Continue reading

In Arms’ Way: Golda’s Balcony and Moth, reviewed.

Tovah Feldshuh as Golda Meir in "Golda's Balcony" by William Gibson.

I review Golda’s Balcony, William Gibson’s 2003 solo play about the life of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, and the U.S. premiere of Australian playwright Declan Greene’s Moth in today’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away for free. Read all about ‘em.

Tovah Feldshuh as Golda Meir.

Birthday Suit: Elevator Repar Service’s Arguendo, reviewed.

Mike Iveson and Vin Knight in Elevator Repair Service's "Arguendo."

I reviewed Arguendo, Elevator Repair Service’s comic treatment of a 1991 Supreme Court case that no longer seems momentous if ever it did, for the Washington City Paper.

Tête-à-Tête Offensive: Tender Napalm and The Carolina Layaway Grail, reviewed.

Laura C. Harris and Elan Zafir in Signature Theatre's "Tender Napalm" (Teresa Wood)

In one of the the shows at Signature Theatre right now, a woman (named “Woman”) tells a man (“Man”) in precise, step-by-step detail how she plans to sever his penis and scrotum.

In the theater next door, Beaches: The Musical is playing. Six of one…

I review Philip Ridley’s Tender Napalm in this week’s Washington City Paper. Plus Allyson Currin’s The Carolina Layaway Grail, the inaugural production from DC playwriting collective The Welders.

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Habit, Run: Water by the Spoonful and Normal, reviewed.

In today’s Washington City PaperI review the Pultizer-winning drama Water by the Spoonful at Studio Theatre and Molotov’s production of Normal, a play about the Dusseldorf Ripper.

Fear of a Dwarf Planet: Forum’s Pluto and WSC’s Orlando, reviewed.

David Zimmerman, Jennifer Mendendall, and Kimberly Gilbert in Forum Theatre's "Pluto."
NOTICE: My reviews of Steve Yockey‘s “rolling world premiere” Pluto for Forum Theatre and Sarah Ruhl‘s adaptation of Virginia Woolf‘s 1928 novel Orlando at WSC Avant Bard are in today’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away yadda yadda yadda.

The Life Despotic with Drew Cortese

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I didn’t know Drew Cortese until I saw him in The Motherfucker with the Hat at Studio Theatre this time last year, but the performance made a powerful impression. He’s in Richard III at the Folger Theatre now. We talked about roads not taken and being the bad guy for a piece in today’s Washington City Paper.

All photos by Jeff Malet, courtesy Folger Theatre.