Tag Archives: Sara Barker

Woolly Mammoth’s Hir and Rick Foucheux’s possibly-career-capping Avant Bard King Lear, reviewed.

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My review of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’srich and fervent” production of Taylor Mac’s family tragicomedy Hir is in this week’s Washington City Paper, along with a shorter one of WSC Avant Bard’s latest King Lear — which just might be the swan song of one of DC’s most venerable actors, the great Rick Foucheux. Pick up a paper copy for old time’s sake.

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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.

It’s Not Easy, Bein’ Queen: Washington Shakespeare Company’s Richard III and Mary Stuart, review’d

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Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, especially if the head connived and murdered its way into it. And if that head belongs to a woman? That’s something else entirely.

To celebrate the opening of its svelte new black box in Rosslyn’s Artisphere complex—a major upgrade from its old digs at the Clark Street Playhouse—the 20-year-old Washington Shakespeare Company has doubled down on British history, preparing concurrent stagings of Richard III and Mary Stuart, Friederich Schiller’s 19th century tale of 16th century royal intrigue.

It’s a truly, er, dynamic duo, in the sense that the plays talk to one another: In Richard, inspired by historical events a hundred years before Shakespeare’s prominence, we have his most outsized malefactor. In Mary Stuart, which looks back on Elizabethan tymes from a vantage point of two centuries (four, if we’re talking about the 2005 Peter Oswald translation used here), we see how it was in Shakespeare’s interest to flex even more artistic license than usual immortalizing Richard as a “hellhound that does hunt us all to death.”

The Bard of Avon was a subject of Queen Elizabeth I, whose legitimacy was contested. It was flattery to the playwright’s sovereign that fueled this depiction of Richard as a beast whose deformity reflected interior corruption, and whose prodigious devilry ultimately served God’s plan to drag England, however bloodily, into a new Golden Age of benign Tudor rule. It would be ungrateful to question the royal credentials of whoever delivered the realm from Richard’s gnarled hands. Oh, was that your grandpappy who did that, my queen? You must be so proud! I can see the resemblance! Continue reading