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Posts in "Theater"
March 17, 2014
PHOENIX — Monday’s snow is a reminder of why Major League Baseball long ago decamped for Arizona and Florida for its spring training schedule. With snow on the ground in Washington, Opening Day seems a long way away on the East Coast.
Here in the Valley of the Sun, teams are starting to make preparations to return to their home cities — or Australia for the season opener in the case of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers — but there are still plenty of exhibition/tune-up games to go, including at Roll Call After Dark’s favorite locale, Phoenix Municipal Stadium, where the Oakland A’s have long made their springtime home.
But if you’re not fortunate enough to be soaking in the rays in Arizona or Florida, there’s still plenty to do in Washington, even as it throws off the last vestiges of winter storming. Full story
March 7, 2014
Need to catch the retelling of one of Shakespeare’s seminal histories? How about the cinema of peace and war in the Middle East? Or how about a trip down South, by Southwest?
Richard III, Extended
If you’re looking to build on your “House of Cards” knowledge, you’re in luck, because the Folger Shakespeare Library has extended its current run of “Richard III” through March 16.
The evil that Kevin Spacey’s Vice President Francis Underwood does is right out of the playbook of the Bard’s tale of the wicked, deformed Richard III and his blood-bathed rise to power. Tickets range from $30 to $72. 201 East Capitol St. For more info, go to folger.edu. Full story
March 4, 2014
When you go to war the goal is to win, but in order to win you must, of course, survive.
For the title character in Bertolt Brecht’s landmark drama “Mother Courage and Her Children,” that survival becomes predicated on the war itself. That’s part of what makes the play such a challenge.
Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that Arena Stage in Southwest Washington would be the venue for staging the production just as another round of wrangling over the Defense Department’s budget begins on Capitol Hill, with the Pentagon calling for a series of reductions that would adversely affect communities depending on military spending and personnel — regardless of the wisdom of recessions or another round of base realignment. There’s also the matter of the looming conflict in Central Europe currently playing out between Ukraine and Russia.
“In light of where Brecht started the play, it might be easy to view the play simply as an ‘anti-war’ play, or as an ‘anti-business’ play, or to perceive Mother Courage as a ‘hero or a villain.’ But that is to see the world of the play in polarities,” production dramaturg Mark Bly wrote in an introduction in the program.
That complexity is what makes the script still so applicable.
And as portrayed by Kathleen Turner, Mother Courage is the incredibly complex character that Brecht probably intended her to be. Turner’s Mother Courage is a woman dedicated to trudging forward, through the both Polish-Swedish War and the Thirty Years’ War.
Courage is shown as a woman who wants to protect her children, but also as one who knows the financial ruin that can come from having her iconic cart freshly restocked with merchandise at the outbreak of peace. Full story
September 22, 2013
It’s time, once again, for the shutdown showdown morass we’ve all grown to know and loathe, which means anyone associated with Capitol Hill will likely be on high alert all week.
What better way to cope with the craziness than to check out some local happenings that have nothing to do with fiscal debates?
Václav Havel Lives
The late Václav Havel was one cool dude. An avant-garde playwright and poet who was an imprisoned political dissident in Cold War Czechoslovakia, he went on to lead his country through the Velvet Revolution, helped bring down the Iron Curtain, got elected president and set the stage for the peaceful dissolution of his country into two republics, then became president of the Czech Republic. He died almost two years ago. The Atlas Performing Arts Center is staging the Alliance for New Music-Theatre’s double bill of his plays “Antiwords” and “Unveiling.” Just so you know: They’re weird, but pretty cool. Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. at 1333 H St NE in the Atlas’s Paul Sprenger Theatre. Tickets are $30 for general admission, $20 for students, educators and seniors. To purchase tickets, go here.
Baseball in Washington
Frederic Frommer talks about his new book, “You Gotta Have Heart,” a history of baseball in Washington that looks at the whole megillah, from 1859 to 2012. CBS newsman Bob Schieffer will lead the discussion at Hill Center DC on Thursday. There’s a lot to discuss, from the early days of play to a World Series championship, Negro League ball, losing the Senators to both Minnesota and Texas, the uber-drama surrounding the Montreal Expos’ relocation here and last year’s playoff run. From 7 p.m.-9 p.m. at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Free. To register, go here.
Bell (Hip) Hopping
That bass you’re going to be hearing coming from the eastern side of Capitol Hill on Sept. 28-29 will be hip-hop extravaganza Rock the Bells, which has already been setting up for days on the grounds of RFK Stadium. The old school/new school lineup is pretty impressive and features veterans of the game like KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane and Wu-Tang Clan (who will bring alongside a hologram version of the late Old Dirty Bastard) as well as newbies like Kid Cudi and local boy done good Wale. Tickets range from $128 to $338. To purchase, go here. Prices go up at the door.
July 5, 2013
With Independence Day behind us, lawmakers and their staffs head back to Washington for a four-week stretch leading into the August recess. Summer is in full swing, with the capital’s hot and muggy environment taking root. And while work will certainly be many folks’ focus upon returning, there’s a good amount to do outside the job this week.
Wimbledon brings out the tennis fans in everyone. It’s a fair wait until Washington’s premier tournament, the Citi Open, which in a previous life was called the Legg Mason Tournament and is played in D.C.’s Rock Creek Park. That’s coming our way July 27. It’s even longer until the next Grand Slam event, the U.S. Open in Flushing, N.Y., which starts Aug. 26.
Lucky for Washingtonians, though, we can check out our World Team Tennis franchise, the Washington Kastles, who play nearby at the Southwest Waterfront at 800 Water St. SW at Kastles Stadium at the Wharf. The Kastles start their season on July 8 at the Wharf against the New York Sportimes at 7:10 p.m., and they are riding a wave of success, boasting a 16-0 2012 season. Martina Hingis is stepping in at the last minute to replace Venus Williams on the Kastles roster. Leander Paes, Anastasia Rodionova, Kevin Anderson and Bobby Reynolds round out the team. On Tuesday, the Kastles face off against the Boston Lobsters, again at 7:10 p.m. at the Wharf, before heading out of town for road matches.
On Wednesday, we’ll get in on the action ourselves by hosting a book event with author Joshua Kendall to discuss his latest, “America’s Obsessives: The Compulsive Energy That Built a Nation.” Kendall, a journalist who has written for The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Psychology Today, among other publications, profiles seven American originals: Thomas Jefferson, Henry Heinz, Melvil Dewey, Alfred Kinsey, Charles Lindbergh, Estee Lauder and Ted Williams. In their psychological makeup, in particular their symptoms of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, Kendall argues they have found ways to innovate in a manner that has led to unparalleled, and uniquely American, success, whether it be designing a search engine (the Dewey Decimal System) or perfecting the art of hitting a baseball.
So drop on by CQ Roll Call HQ at 77 K St. NE to meet Kendall, pick up a book and talk a little obsession, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. To register, go to kendallbook.eventbrite.com.
To the Fringe!
The Capital Fringe Festival, the annual, rock ‘em, sock ‘em, all-out avant-garde live performance festival gets under way on July 11. From then until July 28, the festival will present 738 performances at multiple venues, everything from cheeky presentations of how the Bard killed so well — “43 and a 1/2: The Greatest Deaths of Shakespeare’s Tragedies” — to political fare like “Carry a Big Stick,” a storyteller’s take on Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency to musical acts and workshops. If you need to see some theater that’s on the edge, this is the place for you.
June 19, 2013
“Mad Men,” one of the few television shows that still qualifies as authentic water-cooler fodder, has always had a political bent. In Season 1, we’re introduced to the ad industry view of the 1960 presidential contest between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, with Sterling Cooper helping fashion Nixon’s campaign ads.
And now this season, as it winds down to its finale on June 23, has had to find a way to distill one of the most tumultuous years in American history, 1968, into its mix. The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, as well as the raging of the Vietnam War, serve as the background noise for Season 6.
But even as politics surrounds the characters, the political process has left behind Don Draper and his agency. In Sunday’s episode, Don stays home from work with a doozy of a hangover, and as he’s watching television, Nixon’s campaign ad, “Crime,” comes on the tube.
The scene shows how outside the political season Draper and company are as Nixon, who lost the presidential race in 1960, zeros in on the prize in 1968 without their help. Polarizing ads like “Crime,” and even more inflammatory ones like “Failure,” seem more gauche than Don would stomach in his own firm.
The Museum of the Moving Image has a great feature, “The Living Room Candidate,” that has the full selection of presidential television campaign ads dating back to 1952, including all the ugliness that showed up in 1968.