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DC Metro Spotlight: February 2009

Good Heavens

David Selby
(© Scott Suchman)
Ford's Theatre reopens after 18 months of renovation with a world premiere of a newly commissioned play, The Heavens Are Hung In Black (February 3-March 8). Fittingly, the play offers a glimpse into the personal and political challenges that President Abraham Lincoln faced during 1862, including the death of his young son Willie and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Stage and screen veteran David Selby stars as Honest Abe.

Synetic Theater has another new literary adaptation, utilizing its unique movement-based imagery for Dante (Rosslyn Spectrum, February 6-March 22), the story of one man's journey through the afterlife. This is described as a surreal new twist on Dante Alighieri's epic poem The Divine Comedy. Director and choreographer team Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili promise "fantastical and terrifying imagery of hell."

Something new from Edward Albee? Sorta. Arena Stage promises a "contemporary and provocative new staging" of Albee's 1967 Pulitzer Prize winning drama A Delicate Balance (February 6-March 15) under the direction of longtime Albee collaborator Pam MacKinnon and featuring Broadway veteran Kathleen Chalfant. The master work explores the complicated family life of Agnes and Tobias, a retired suburban couple with a house full of people living secret histories. Something new from Mark Twain? Sorta. Olney Theatre Center has the area premiere of Twain's "rediscovered" comedy Is He Dead? (February 11-March 8) on the Mainstage. The play was written by Twain in 1898, but not published until recently discovered in a university archive. The work, adapted by David Ives, is farcical fiction about a real-life painter, Jean-François Millet, who stages his own death to drive up the price of his paintings.

Bethesda's Round House Theatre stages Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice (February 4-March 1), a wildly comic, yet emotionally powerful look at the myth of Orpheus from the perspective of his beloved bride. The Accident (February 4-March 8) is an incisive look at upper-middle class life in a Tel Aviv suburb, from Theater J. Catalyst Theater Company presents the rarely produced Roundheads and Peakheads (February 11-March 15) by Bertolt Brecht. Set in the fictional country of "Yahoo," it's a tale of class and race warfare, at the Atlas Performing Arts Center's Sprenger Theatre. And Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has Hell Meets Henry Halfway (February 2-March 1). It's a black comedy adaptation of Possessed, the gothic mystery by Polish novelist Witold Gombrowicz.

Spanish language Teatro de la Luna has the U.S. premiere of Mujeres al Poder (Kick-Butt Women) (February 12-March 7). It's a broad satire based on Lady Godiva by Jean Canolle, at the Gunston Arts Center's Theater Two in Arlington, with English surtitles. The Shakespeare Theatre Company is staging work from a master of Spain's Golden Age, Lope de Vega. The Dog in the Manger (Lansburgh Theatre, February 10-March 29) explores love, fidelity, and class, and stars Michael Hayden, Michele Hurd, and David Turner. This production is part of Loving Lope, a collaboration with the GALA Hispanic Theatre which is producing El mejor alcalde, el rey/The Best Judge, the King (through February 22), also by de Vega.

Shakespeare Theatre Company has a brief offering for the younger set as part of its Youth and Family Series at Harman Hall. Hunchback (February 13-15) tells the tragic story of Quasimodo the hunchback, featuring delicate masks, multiple styles of puppetry, and mechanical towers enabling acrobatic feats.


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