✔ Pick of the Pack
Back in the day, writer types often were fighter types. Mario Vargas Llosa once gave Gabriel Garcia Marquez a black eye. Wallace Stevens broke his hand on Ernest Hemingway’s face. Gore Vidal literally head-butted Norman Mailer once, and the two jousted, verbally, on Dick Cavett’s TV show. But the greatest rivalry of the male-dominated 20th century was one that never came to blows: William Faulkner versus Hemingway. Their fight did not involve adultery (as was the case with Mr. Marquez and Mr. Llosa), or social reputation (as with Mailer and Mr. Vidal), but art, influence and style. Each man saw himself as the premier literary talent of the time and secretly was worried the other was about to surpass him. “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary,” Faulkner said of Hemingway. “Poor Faulkner,” Hemingway replied. “Does he really think big emotions come from big words?” In “Faulkner and Hemingway: Biography of a Literary Rivalry,” Georgetown University professor Joseph Fruscione argues that the rivalry was deeper than the barbs suggest, and that the mutual distaste and admiration Hemingway and Faulkner had for each other spurred each to do his best work.
Theater: ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’
Judith Viorst’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is like the spinach of children’s books. Just like a brief review of the plight of kids in Africa can inspire a picky eater to dig into his plate of steamed greens, no child is ever having as bad a day as the miserable red-headed Alexander. Introduced to the world in 1972, Alexander didn’t have to worry about owning the latest gadgets or the coolest clothes, or having unrestricted access to Facebook. But 40 years later, his problems are still the problem of every child: He gets gum in his hair, his mom packs him a lackluster lunch, his carpool is crowded, and his best friend - like so many prepubescent children - is a mercurial sadist. With the aid of Helen Hayes Award recipient Parker Drown, Adventure Theatre brings Alexander’s bad day and (spoiler alert!) reassuring denouement to life.
Through April 9 at Adventure Theatre, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, Md.
Circus: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Creative destruction in the entertainment industry has been rough on record stores and movie theaters, but great for the circus. Whereas the average traveling circus was lucky to have one of every animal and a pair of clowns, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ “Fully Charged” show has lots of everything. Chilean animal trainer Taba Maluenda, for instance, works not with one tiger, but 12 Bengal and white tigers; not one elephant, but five. The acrobatic routines, once restricted to the now-musty seeming trapeze, can rival any Cirque du Soleil troupe.
Through March 18 at Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW
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