Tag Archives: WSC Avant Bard

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.

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.

Faking and Baking: Stage Kiss and Holiday Memories, reviewed.

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They can’t all be winners, not even shows from playwrights, directors, and actors whose work you often love. Round House Theatre’s new production of Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss was a bigger disappointment to me given its pedigree than was WSC Avant Bard’s Holiday Memories, but I can’t say either one blew by Christmas stockings off. Your mileage may vary.

Scholar Signs: Visible Language, reviewed. PLUS: The Keller-Bell letters, parsed!

Miranda Medugno and Sarah Anne Sillers (C. Stanley Photography)

Miranda Medugno and Sarah Anne Sillers (C. Stanley Photography)

My review of Visible Language, an ambitious original musical in English and American Sign Language being performed at Gallaudet University, is in today’s Washington City Paper. One of the play’s concerns is Alexander Graham Bell‘s relationship with Helen Keller, whom he met as his student, but who became a close friend of Bell and his wife, Mabel.

Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, undated photo.

Helen Keller & Anne Sullivan, undated

I’ll say. While researching this review I found several pieces of correspondence spanning a 25-year period between Bell and Keller in the Library of Congress. I haven’t made anything approaching a serious attempt at scholarship here, but I read the letters I found and I was moved and amused by the story they tell, or at least suggest.

In chronological order, to the extent possible:

This one, which Keller wrote to Bell on George Peabody College for Teachers letterhead, is dated only with a month and day. It’s purely cordial. She talks about addressing the German Scientific Society of New York in English and German, and telling them “every deaf child should have a chance to learn to speak.” Which was Bell’s belief, too, according to the musical. His rival, Edward Miner Gallaudet, believed that sign language, rather than speech, should be the primary method of teaching the deaf to communicate. That’s the conflict that drives Visible Language. Continue reading

When In Glam: Nero/Pseudo, reviewed.

Bradley Foster Smith in "Nero / Pseudo."

Richard Byrne’s original glam musical Nero / Pseudo, featuring songs by Jon Langford and Jim Elkington, needs a little more Caligula, I conclude in my Washington City Paper review. Still, it’s a project worth following — and I’ve been following it for a couple of years.

Continue reading

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.

Poor Me, Pour Me Another: WSC Avant Bard’s No Man’s Land, reviewed.

Christopher Henley and Brian Hemmingsen.

Christopher Henley and Brian Hemmingsen.

Allow myself to quote myself: Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land is a 38-year-old Rubik’s Cube covered in Rorschach blots, a confounding examination of memory and masculinity that resists easy interpretation like an Aikido master shrugging off an unwanted bear hug. I wrestle with that bear — er, WSC Avant Bard’s production of that bear-hug-avoiding Aikido master of a play, that is — in this week’s Washington City Paper.