- The Washington Times - Friday, June 19, 2009


ArcadiaFolger Theatre — ★★★★ Director Aaron Posner’s dazzling production is a spring tonic for the soul, a reminder of why we love theater and of the intellect and heart of playwright Tom Stoppard. Written in 1993, “Arcadia” is quintessential Stoppard, a hybrid of highbrow ideas. These include fads in landscape gardening, chaos theory, English algebra, the nature of genius, Lord Byron and the second law of thermodynamics as well as the complications that inevitably arise from carnal embrace. Through Sunday. 202/544-7077.

Design for LivingShakespeare Theatre Company at the Lansburgh — ★★★ Playwright Noel Coward combines bons mots and nerviness in his 1933 comedy, a hard-edged jewel of a play stunningly staged by artistic director Michael Kahn — who celebrates the wit and glamour of the piece without sacrificing its serious undertones. Audacious in its day, the play revels in the sexual renegades immersed in a menage a trois. The shocking part of “Design for Living” today is not so much the sexual politics but the blithe cruelty of the threesome’s behavior. Through June 28. 202/547-1122.

LoopedArena Stage at Lincoln — ★★★ Clad in a slinky midnight-blue satin frock by William Ivey Long, Valerie Harper stalks the stage like a Tennessee Williams heroine, and as an unrepentant drunk and high liver, she couldn’t be more entertaining. In Matthew Lombardo’s play, directed for Arena by Rob Ruggiero, she plays Tallulah Bankhead at 62 — riddled with emphysema, washed up as a stage and screen goddess, but still out there swinging with the witticisms. In a bland recording studio in 1965, Miss Bankhead goes at it with an unctuous film editor, Danny (Jay Goede), who needs her to rerecord one line in what would turn out to be her last film, “Die, Die My Darling.” Through June 28. 202/488-3300.

Radio GolfStudio Theatre — ★★★ The final installment in August Wilson’s 10-play cycle depicting black life throughout the 20th century, takes place in 1997. Directed by Ron Himes, the production is rendered with a sincerity that does not completely capture the play’s dynamism. “Golf” takes place in Pittsburgh’s Hill District and depicts wealthy upper-class blacks striving to become richer and more powerful. Harmond Wilks (Walter Coppage) aspires to be the city’s first black mayor, and his social-climbing friend and business partner Roosevelt Hicks (Kim Sullivan) wants to be a radio magnate as well as head honcho for their urban-redevelopment project — which would raze much of the community. Nothing seems to stand in their way, except that one of the houses slated for demolition is 1839 Wylie Ave. — which fans of Mr. Wilson’s plays will remember as the home of Aunt Ester, the neighborhood healer who was as old as slavery. Through July 5. 202/332-3300.

Rock ‘n’ RollStudio Theatre ★★★★ Playwright Tom Stoppard gives anarchy a righteous beat in this sublime play, which melds his love of wordplay, cerebral characters and rock music of the 1960s and ‘70s. The play goes between Cambridge and Prague in the intertwining stories of an academic, ivory-tower communist Max (Ted van Griethuysen), and Jan (Stafford Clark-Price), a Czech intellectual and reserved revolutionary. Through June 28. 202/332-3300.

A Sleeping CountryRound House Theatre — ★★½ If you’ve ever experienced the peculiar torture of chronic insomnia, you’ll feel an immediate connection to the plight of Julia (Susan Lynskey), the sleep-deprived heroine of Melanie Marnich’s fitfully funny play, directed by Gregg Henry for Round House Theatre. Julia’s months of wakefulness have turned her into a walking exposed nerve. She can’t concentrate. She’s driving her patient fiance, Greg (Marcus Kyd), insane. Meanwhile, Midge (Connan Morrissey) — Julia’s psychiatrist and best friend — diagnoses Julia by Googling “insomnia” and comes up with some rare — and fatal — genetic disease. So Julia jets off to Italy to track down an eccentric Venetian noblewoman, Isabella Orsini (Brigid Cleary), who has the disease. Through Sunday. 240/644-1100.

Compiled by Jayne Blanchard

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide