- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2008

This fall’s presidential election will be reflected on area stages, with many shows taking a political slant.

However, for those remaining uncommitted, the season offers alternatives with plenty of prose adaptations.

The political side will be represented with Synetic Theater’s remounting of “Host and Guest” in response to the recent upheaval and unrest in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, the native country of company founders Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili along with many of their actors and creative team. The play, written by Roland Reed, is based on an epic Georgian poem written at the turn of the 20th century that explores the futility of local and regional violence. “Host and Guest” plays at the Rosslyn Spectrum Sept. 26 through Nov. 9 (www.synetictheatre.org).

World events also dominate Theatre J’s world-premiere production of “Honey Brown Eyes” by District native Stefanie Zadravec, running Oct. 22 through Nov. 30. Set in 1992 in the midst of the Bosnian war, the drama follows the parallel stories of two soldiers, one in a kitchen in Sarajevo and the other in a kitchen in Visegrad,. Both are trying to recover a little of the humanity they’ve lost during the war. Stellar actor Alexander Strain stars (www.washingtondcjcc.org).

The original “Big Brother” - not the reality TV show - drops in for some inspired surveillance in Catalyst Theater Company’s adaptation of George Orwell’s “1984,” a masterpiece of paranoia and the effects of totalitarianism. “1984” runs through Oct. 5 at Catalyst’s new digs at the Atlas Performing Arts Center (www.catalysttheater.org).

The battles of blacklisted and imprisoned screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (“Spartacus,” “Roman Holiday,” “Exodus”) are chronicled in “Trumbo: Red, White and Blacklisted,” written by his son Christopher Trumbo. The potent memoir piece - which examines the writer’s life through letters written to friends, former friends and family members- continues at Rep Stage in Columbia, Md., through Sept. 28 (www.repstage.org).

Reminiscing of a different sort is the focal point of “Frost/Nixon,” onstage at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater Nov. 11 through 30 (www.kennedy-center.org). Peter Morgan’s (“The Queen,” “The Last King of Scotland”) dynamic play details how David Frost, the dandyish British talk-show host, elicited the apology that the world was waiting to hear from former President Richard Nixon in one of the most famous TV interviews of all time. The Tony Award-winning play will feature Stacy Keach in the role of Mr. Nixon.

Personal and international politics form the meat of Caryl Churchill’s play “Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?,” an area premiere at Forum Theatre Oct. 11 through Nov. 2 (www.forumtheatredc.org). Director John Vreeke will direct this clever look at circular conversations that dazzled audiences during its London and New York productions.

On the prose side, Round House Theatre continues its mission to bring the page to the stage with “How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents.” Based on the novel by Julia Alvarez, the play describes the plunge of four siblings from the Dominican Republic into the American mainstream. Blake Robison directs local author Karen Zacarias’ zesty adaptation, which premieres Sept. 17 through Oct. 12 (www.roundhousetheatre.org).

Whose childhood was complete without Richard Scarry storybooks? Imagination Stage knows full well the power of Stitches the Tailor and Alfalfa the Farmer and brings these homespun characters and more to “Busytown,” a musical version of the whimsical and comforting books by Kevin Kling. The show runs from Sept. 27 through Nov. 2 (www.imaginationstage.org).

Not to be outdone, Adventure Theatre brings another beloved children’s classic, “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” to life in a world premiere production chronicling the adventures of a little boy who can draw his way out of any situation. Harold and his art supplies will appear at Adventure Theatre Sept. 19 through Nov. 4 (www.adventuretheatre.org).

Mark Twain and artist Jean-Francois Millet get entangled in “Is He Dead?” an update by playwright David Ives of a recently discovered comic whodunit Twain wrote in 1897. The farcical plot focuses on the underappreciated artist Millet, who fakes his own death in the hope it will spark interest in his work. However, to keep an eye on things, he re-emerges as his imaginary twin sister. Meanwhile, Olney Theatre Center poses the dramatic question “Is He Dead?” Feb. 11 through March 8 (www.olneytheatrecenter.org). Olney also will host the musical “Call of the Wild,” based on the works of Jack London. The ruthless world of the Yukon is brought to life in this world-premiere musical by Jon Lipsky and Bill Barclay, which bows at Olney April 8 through May 3.

Also looking ahead, Studio Theatre will present two book adaptations in the spring: Joan Didion’s clear-eyed and unsparing “The Year of Magical Thinking,” which deals with the death of the author’s husband and the serious illness of her daughter, her only child, who died not long after the book was written. The show will run at Studio June 17 through July 5 (www.studiotheatre.org).

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide