Tag Archives: William Shakespeare

Love, American Style: Folger’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” reviewed.

The cast of Aaron Posner’s ERA-era Merry Wives dances the night away. (Cameron Whitman)

The new bellbottoms-era Merry Wives is your last chance to see Aaron Posner direct some of his (and my) favorite actors—and some welcome new faces—at the scheduled-for-renovation Folger Theater for two years. Would’ve been even groovier sans intermission, but it’s fun. Here’s my Washington City Paper review.

Depth and Deprivation: The Children and Love’s Labor’s Lost, reviewed.

I didn’t write about Ella Hickson’s Oil, the best play I’ve seen this year. But I did review Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children, the second-best. I’m struck by how different two plays with ecological themes written by British women born in the 80s that premiered in 2016 can be. I also wrote about Folger’s new production of the seldom-staged Shakespeare comedy, Love’s Labor’s Lost.

Language Bury Her: Studio’s Translations and Folger’s The Winter’s Tale, reviewed.

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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.
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Dry Goods: Hamlet and Sovereignty, reviewed.

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I wish I could muster more enthusiasm for Michael Kahn’s final Hamlet, starring Michael Urie, or for Sovereignty, an Arena Stage World Premiere entry in the Women’s Voices Theater Festival written by Mary Kathryn Nagle, who knows whereof she speaks but not how to make it sing. Those reviews are in this week’s Washington City Paper.

Merciless Flight: STC’s Twelfth Night, reviewed.

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night is my favorite Shakespeare play. The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Ethan McSweeny-directed production is cleverly staged on a set made to resemble an airport, but it left me cold. In my Washington City Paper review, I try to unpack why. Continue reading

Rome If You Want To: Folger’s Antony and Cleopatra, reviewed.

Cody Nickell and Shirine Babb (Teresa Wood)

My Shakespeare professor at James Madison University, Ralph Cohen, told us Antony and Cleopatra was his favorite Shakespeare play. Robert Richmond’s new production for the Folger Theatre, with Cody Nickell and Shirine Babb in the title roles, took me back to my salad days. I reviewed the show in this week’s Washington City Paper. Individual issues are free but the paper is now for sale. It’s all very confusing.

Cody Nickell and Shirine Babb (Teresa Wood)

 

Of Most Rare Note

TWood_Timon_134 Can a working actor get famous in one of Shakespeare’s least-famous plays? In this week’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away gratis, I profile the hardworking and versatile titan of stage and stage Mr. Ian Merrill Peakes. He’s currently appearing in the Folger Theatre‘s Timon of Athens, the “Hey Bulldog” of the Shakespearean canon.

What Happens in Orlando Stays in Orlando: As You Like It, reviewed.

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As You Like It is my favorite Shakespearean comedy after Twelfth Night, but when the actor playing Orlando can’t hang with the actor playing Rosalind, it prevents this pleasant diversion from being something deeper. I reviewed the Folger Theatre’s production in this week’s Washington City Paper.

Be Brief, I See into Thy End: Fear, reviewed.

Jennifer J. Hopkins, Tom Carman, and Vince Eisenson in "Fear."

I had the good fortune to interview Star Trek’s resident alien linguist Marc Okrand this week, for a video that’ll posting next week as part of Air & Space / Smithsonian’s coverage of Trek’s 50th birthday. I met Marc through his involvement in DC theatre. After the shoot, we got some coffee and talked about—well, okay, yes, about his work on various Trek movies mostly, again, some more. But we also discussed how much we both enjoyed writer/director Kathleen Akerley’s ambitious new play FEAR, which I review in this week’s Washington City Paper.

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Law and Border: District Merchants and El Paso Blue, reviewed.

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District Merchants, Aaron Posner’s new Reconstruction-era DC gloss on The Merchant of Venice for the Folger Theatre, is an intriguing muddle; GALA Hispanic Theatre’s production of Octavio Solis’ El Paso Blue is a surrealist hoot. Both reviews appear in this week’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are still hanging on.

The Man Trap: STC’s The Taming of the Shrew and Mosaic Theatre’s When January Feels Like Summer, reviewed.

Directors have reckoned with the misogyny of The Taming of the Shrew in many ways. Ed Sylvanus Iskandar’s fix — cast only men, and let the female characters express themselves via covers of old songs from Duncan Sheik, a man — is at least, and most, strange. I review Iskandar’s perplexing boys-only Shakespeare Theatre Company Shrew in today’s Washington City Paper.

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Less Is Moor: Othello, reviewed.

Ryman Sneed and Faran Tahir in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of "Othello," directed by Ron Daniels. (Scott Suchman)

I reviewed the Shakespeare Theatre Company‘s new Ron Daniels-directed Othello, starring Jinn‘s Faran Tahir as the Moor of Venice, for the Washington City Paper. Jonno Roberts’ Iago is the best reason to go.

2 Midsummer 2 Dreamz

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I spent a midwinter day and evening taking in two, two, two big productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, from WSC Avant Bard and the Folger Theatre. I reviewed the experience for this week’s unusually me-heavy Washington City Paper.

We Can Do This Like Brutus: Julius Caesar and How We Got On, reviewed.

My reviews of Folger Theatre’s Julius Caesar and Forum Theatre’s production of Idris Goodwin’s How We Got On are in today’s Washington City Paper.

I Don’t Think You’re Ready for This Vile Jelly: King Lear and Spark, reviewed.

Joseph Marcell as King Lear in the Globe's touring production.

Joseph Marcell as King Lear.

My review of the Globe Theater’s stripped-down touring production of King Lear — the play that inspired Ira Glass to proclaim “Shakespeare sucks”! — is in today’s Washington City Paper. I also reviewed Theatre Alliance’s production of Caridad Svich’s Spark.

FURTHER READING: I reviewed Synetic Theatre’s wordless King Lear in 2011. And I interviewed Ira Glass, who was and remains one of my heroes, in April 2008.

The Prince of Wails: Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2, reviewed.

Edward Gero as King Henry IV in the Shakespeare Theatre's repertory of "Henry IV, Part 1" and "Part 2," directed by Michael Kahn.

That’s Edward Gero as King Henry IV. I found out only the other day he was in Die Hard 2: Die Harder, a film I loved in 1990 but which has not aged as well as Die Hard or even Die Hard with a Vengeance. I probably didn’t talk about him enough in my tangled but enthusiastic Washington City Paper review of both parts of the Shakespeare Theatre’s Company’s new, Michael Kahn-directed repertory of Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2. Continue reading

The Life Despotic with Drew Cortese

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I didn’t know Drew Cortese until I saw him in The Motherfucker with the Hat at Studio Theatre this time last year, but the performance made a powerful impression. He’s in Richard III at the Folger Theatre now. We talked about roads not taken and being the bad guy for a piece in today’s Washington City Paper.

All photos by Jeff Malet, courtesy Folger Theatre.

The Motherfucker with the Limp: Folger’s Richard III, reviewed.

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No one was more excited than I was when the Folger Theatre announced that Drew Cortese — a standout player from Studio’s The Motherfucker with the Hat last year — would play Richard III. The show is good, but not the radical reinvention I’d hoped it might be. Read all about it in today’s Washington City Paper on the Internet only.