- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2003

OPENING

• The BFG — A story about a girl in the land of giants and the unlikely friendship she makes. Opens Wednesday and continues through Oct. 19. BAPA’s Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave. Bethesda. $10. 301/280-1660

• Boston Marriage — A comedy about two Victorian women in Boston, written by David Mamet. Opens Sunday and continues through Oct. 5. Presented by the Actor’s Theatre of Washington at the Source Theatre. 800/494-8497.

• The Drawer Boy — Hailed as one of the 10 best plays of the year, “The Drawer Boy” is the story of two Canadian farmers, Angus and Morgan, and an actor. Opens Wednesday and continues through Oct. 12. Round House Theate. 240/644-1100.

• A Dream Play — August Strindberg’s mystic drama about life as an illusion. Opens Saturday and continues through Oct. 4. Presented by the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company at the Open Theatre/DC and Takoma Theatre Arts Project. 202/291-8060.

Shakespeare in Hollywood — A world premiere play by Ken Ludwig that was inspired by the magic of the movies and one of the world’s wittiest romances. Opens tomorrow and continues through Oct. 19. Arena Stage. 202/488-3300.

• The Trial of One Short-Sighted Black Woman vs. Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae — Victoria is upset about the black female stereotypes on TV, film and the media so she decides to take them to trial in this political satire play. Opens tomorrow and continues through Sept. 21. Presented by the Metropolitan Ebony Theatre Company (MET) at Prince George’s Community College. $10-$15. 301/322-0444.

• Tucaret — Sex, scandal and silliness are the hallmarks of this 18th century satire of corruption and greed. Opens Saturday and continues through Oct. 11. Presented by the Catalyst Theater Company at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. 800/494-8497.

NOW PLAYING

• The Power of the Dog — Longacre Lea Productions — *1/2. Playwright Howard Barker is known as the enfant terrible of British contemporary drama, and his “theater of catastrophe” is on full display in “Dog” as he free-associates Stalin, Churchill and various soldiers, photographers and filmmakers into an unpleasant melange of postmodernist moral equivalency — all commented upon by an irritating Scottish comic who scampers about doing a poor imitation of Lear’s Fool. Ably directed by Kathleen Ackerly, this production is briskly paced, sharply acted and at times quite funny. But alas, Mr. Barker’s 21/2 hours of surface profundities will appeal mostly to academics, semioticians and alienated students of lit crit who will find great intellectual amusement in the deconstruction of mass murder. Through Sunday at the Callan Theatre, Catholic University. 202/332-3300. Reviewed by T.L. Ponick.

• Shear Madness — Kennedy Center Theater Lab —** This corny, hokey tourist trap — now in its second decade — is doubly maddening because the Kennedy Center displays it as art to the cultural center’s unsuspecting pilgrims. The audience-participation murder-mystery farce (set in a Georgetown hair salon) is well-played, though, when the actors refrain from mugging and cracking up one another. Continues indefinitely. 202/467-4600. File review by Nelson Pressley.• Twentieth Century ***. — If you wish theater were more like old movies, look no further than Signature Theatre. All that’s missing from its world premiere of local playwright Ken Ludwig’s dashing “Twentieth Century” (a sprucing up and paring down of the classic play and film by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur) is the RKO Studios logo. If you’re going retro, there isn’t a better vehicle than Signature’s production, buffed to a high polish by director Eric Schaeffer. Set designer James Kronzer has outdone himself transforming the space-challenged Signature interior. The audience sits in a bleacher-like formation smack-dab in front of an astonishingly accurate replica of the train, the 20th Century Limited.The set even moves, as if on a track, revealing the sumptuous art deco drawing rooms, suites and reading areas all rendered in deep reds and taupes. Amtrak looks particularly dowdy in comparison. “Twentieth Century” also has a freight load of characters, but trumping them all is Donna Migliaccio’s wonderfully demented turn as Myrtle Clark. Through Oct. 5 at Signature Theatre. 800/955-5566. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.

MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

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