Doyle and Emma and Mash and Sorn
Of the stage productions that’ve moved me most in the five years or so that I’ve been semi-professionally paying attention to theatre in DC, a suspiciously high percentage of those have been directed by Aaron Posner. (His 2009 version of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia at the Folger Theatre remains my favorite thing that I’ve ever seen in a playhouse.)
Posner is the playwright, not the director, of Stupid Fucking Bird, his-flippant-but-faithful rejiggering of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, which opened at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company this weekend. (Woolly Mammoth founder Howard Shalwitz is its director.) The result is pretty goddamn delightful, as I aver in today’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away for free.
Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh in the Syndey Theatre's UNCLE VANYA
Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull
Or you could go with the one my editor preferred, Tsar-Crossed Lovers. You tell me
which one’s funnier.
In any case: The Sydney Theatre Company‘s star-stuffed 2010 adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, reviewed for the Washington City Paper.
Amy Quiggins, Nanna Ingvarsson, and Catherine Deadman
Life is hard. Life is hard and long. Life is hard and long and cold and pointless, and so it shall be for our descendants a thousand years from now, until at last, perhaps, the mystery of creation is revealed. Until then, we must suffer and endure. Any respite from said suffering and endurance shall be brief, and shall chiefly take the form of alcoholism, gambling, infidelity, and should we be so lucky, duels.
No wonder Anton Chekhov thought his plays were comedies!
Constellation’s Theatre Company’s new production of his Three Sisters finds some levity amid its pervasive existential gloom, but not nearly enough of it to prevent this handsome but staid production from feeling like a march through the Russian winter. That isn’t automatically a reason to stay away, but we don’t feel the weight of its tragedy, either — the characters seem to be miserable mostly because their creator says so. The result, despite a handful of memorable performances, feels listless and underdeveloped. Continue reading