I’ve got reviews of two shows I enjoyed in this week’s Washington City Paper: Studio Theatre second-in-command Matt Torney’s confident new production of Brian Friel’s 40-year-old Irish classic Translations, and Aaron Posner’s The Winter’s Tale over at the Folger. The former as a lot of superb performers who haven’t worked a lot in Washington before. The latter has a bunch of Posner’s favorite actors (and mine), but it’s Michael Tisdale as the maniacal King Leontes who’s the standout.
Posted in theatre
Tagged Aaron Posner, Aldo Billingslea, Brad Armacost, Brian Friel, Cary Donaldson, Daven Ralston, Eric Hissom, Erin Gann, Folger Theatre, Jeff Keogh, Kate deBuys, Kimberly Gilbert, Martin Giles, Matt Torney, Matthew Aldwin McGee, Megan Graves, Michael Tisdale, Molly Carden, play reviews, Studio Theatre, Washington City Paper, William Shakespeare
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.
Posted in theatre
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
Eric Hissom is emotionally erect. (Carol Pratt/courtesy Folger)
By the power vested in him by nothing more than his wildly protruding ego, Cyrano de Bergerac runs a blowhard actor off the stage at rapier point. So begins the Folger Shakespeare Library’s sparkling and soulful new adaptation of the romantic classic, and of all the outlandish scenarios it demands that leading man Eric Hissom imagine, this might be the most farfetched: As Cyrano, the guardsman of uncommon cheek and uncanny beak, a genius almost as fast with a sword as he is with a quip, Hissom is so effortlessly charming and authoritative it seems impossible he could ever find himself staring down a hostile audience.
He’s so good, in fact, you almost can’t believe that this Cyrano’s inconveniently 3D schnoz would much impede him in romance. But of course, the pickle he finds himself in ultimately has nothing to do with the fleshy cucumber sticking out under his eyes. For Cyrano, the rub is his lack of confidence that he’ll persuade his second cousin Roxane to see beyond her—uh, his—nose, an eloquent and enduring metaphor for the self-doubt that can cripple even the most capable among us. Continue reading