Monthly Archives: September 2015

After the Raid: Uprising, reviewed.

Anthony Manough and Cynthia D. Barker in MetroStage's

Reviewed in this week’s Washington City Paper: Gabrielle Fulton’s Uprising, about Osborne Perry Anderson, who wrote the only first-hand account of the doomed 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry led by abolitionist John Brown. In this “rolling world premiere” at Alexandria, Virginia’s MetroStage, a mix of Negro spirituals and original songs power Fulton’s story of a romance between Anderson — a fugitive for his role in Brown’s raid — and a Pennsylvania field hand named Sal.

Some wonky characterization aside, I found it to be a powerful and not-glib exploration of heroism and sacrifice. My review is here.

Personal Is Geopolitical: Chimerica and Women Laughing Alone with Salad, reviewed.

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My review of the U.S. debut of Lucy Kirkwood’s sprawling, ambitious drama Chimerica at the Studio Theatre is in today’s Washington City Paper. Also reviewed: Women Laughing Alone with Salad, a surreal feminist comedy from Sheila Callaghan making its world premiere at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. For those keeping score, that’s one great play by a woman that’s not officially part of the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival, and one pretty good play that is. Read those pieces here, or pick up a dead-tree WCP, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away gratis — and you don’t even need to have an Amazon Prime subscription! Continue reading

Pop Culture Happy Hour No. 259: Mr. Robot and Title Sequences

Christian Slater and Rami Malek in

I am always grateful for an invitation to rub elbows with the Pop Culture Happy Hour crew. All your favorites are there around the table this week: Intrepid host Linda Holmes! Indefatigable regular panelist Stephen Thompson! Inexhaustible other regular panelist and Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon!  And then there’s me. The four of us merrily dissect the paranoid charms of Mr. Robot, showrunner Sam Esmail‘s much-discussed USA Network series about a brilliant but also probably off-his-rocker sometime-vigilante computer hacker involved in an anarchistic conspiracy.

I think I got to say more or less everything I meant to about the show, though none of us had seen the season finale when we recorded the episode, as it had not yet aired. Wait, no: I didn’t mention how clever I think it is that we, the audience, are cast as Elliot-the-hacker’s paranoid delusion. In voiceover, he addresses us as “you” while acknowledging that we’re imaginary. Smart. I also like that he disguises his data archives of the people he’s hacked as home-burned audio CDs. The fake labels he Sharpies onto them often suggest a connection between the album and the person: His psychiatrist’s archive is labeled as the Talking Heads’ Speaking in Tongues, for example.

You may recognize the Coney Island Wonder Wheel, featured prominently in Mr. Robot‘s pilot episode, from this very website. Continue reading