Criticism imitating art imitating life: My Washington City Paper review of Annie Baker’s John at Signature Theatre is three times as long as my review of the touring Underground Railroad Game at Woolly Mammoth, just as John is three times as long as Underground Railroad Game. And roughly a third as rewarding.
Your mileage, as ever, may vary.
I review Signature Theatre’s production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic drama The Flick in this week’s Washington City Paper. It’s the fourth Annie Baker play I’ve reviewed — five if you count her translation of Uncle Vanya — and the second in which I’ve quoted a heckler. Maybe I wouldn’t have done that had I remembered doing it in my review of Studio Theatre’s The Aliens three-and-a-half years ago.
Further reading, if you really want to see me struggle not to repeat myself: Circle Mirror Transformation, from 2010, and Body Awareness, from 2012.
Ryan Rilette, Mitchell Hebert, Nancy Robinette, and Mark Jaster in “Uncle Vanya.” (Danisha Crosby)
Sherri L. Edelen, Grace Gonglewski, Jefferson Farber, Rachel Esther Tate and Eric Hissom in “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.” (C. Stanley Photography)
We’ve got an An-ton of Chekhov in DC just now, what with Arena Stage doing Christopher Durang’s Tony Award-winning, Chekhov-inflected Sonia and Masha and Vanya and Spike, while Round House Theatre has put together a sublime new Uncle Vanya, working from Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker’s recent translation of the play.
I review both of those in today’s Washington City Paper. I have seen Live Art DC’s staged-in-a-bar Drunkle Vanya yet, but it’s stumbling distance from my apartment so I should find the time.
FURTHER READING: My 2010 review of Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation. My 2011 review of Sydney Theatre Company’s Liv Ullmann-directed, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving-starring Uncle Vanya. My 2012 review of Baker’s The Aliens. My 2013 review of Aaron Posner’s Stupid Fucking Bird, and its follow-up, from earlier, this year, Life Sucks, or the Present Ridiculous. Surely that’s more than enough.
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Tagged Aaron Posner, Annie Baker, Anton Chekhov, Arena Stage, Eric Hissom, John Vreeke, Kimberly Gilbert, Mark Jaster, Mitchell Hebert, Nancy Redd, Round House Theatre, The Washington CIty Paper, Washington City Paper
Scot McKenzie and Brian Miskell.
Wherein I gradually fall under the under the slow-burning spell of Annie Baker’s The Aliens, the pausiest third of her Vermont Trilogy. I reviewed its other two-thirds already: Theater J’s production of Baker’s Body Awareness back in September, and Studio’s production of her Circle Mirror Transformation two years ago.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
Bedroom cries: MaryBeth Wise, Susan Lynskey & Adi Stein
I reviewed Theater J
‘s production of Annie Baker
‘s breakout play, Body Awareness,
in today’s City Paper.
Two years ago I reviewed Baker’s follow-up, Circle Mirror Transformation, for the Examiner.