Theater

 

What Do You Think?

 

One Grimm Hansel

It is one of the most famous fairy tale stories of them all, and also potentially one of the scariest - a tale to put the “Grim” in Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

A tricky feat to pull off, but the Puppet Co down at Glen Echo takes the well known of “Hansel and Gretel” and makes it family friendly offering without lowering the stakes too much.  They are helped by, of all things, the world of grand opera and a version of this story by the one hit wonder composer with the unique name of Englebert Humperdink.

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Skipping the spelling bee for adulthood?

If you could live your life over again, wouldn’t you want to skip that whole high school part and go right into early adulthood?

The joys and angst of adolescence is the theme of the final show at Ford’s Theater.  “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is a rowdy and frequently hilarious musical that uses the yearly spell-a-thon to explore the particular rough puberty these kids are going through, simmering just underneath the surface and ready to pop up at the most inconvenient times.

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Doubt and the Catholic Church

“Doubt” tells a fascinating and very topical story in its swiftly paced 90 minutes, and it is an interesting show for Georgetown University to tackle, given its subject matter.  It is a very easy play to follow, until you start thinking about it.

Then nothing appears simple or straightforward.

This ambiguity won “Doubt” a ton of awards (Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award) but makes it a very difficult show to pull off.  Individual audience members can form their own opinions, but the production cannot.  It must walk a fine line presenting all sides of the questions honestly and forcefully, but if the production starts to take sides, the show is ruined.

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A Tempest in a Dance Study

Many people have seen at least one play by William Shakespeare performed on stage, but have you ever seen one danced?

Shakespeare’s plays have such basic and timeless themes, that the stories have been turned into musicals, operas, even dance.  Last weekend the American Dance Institute in Rockville hosted the Canadian based company Kidd Pivot and they mounted a very interesting and challenging modern dance piece based on Shakespeare’s final play “The Tempest.”

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Water, spoons and jigsaw puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles can be a satisfying challenge, and “Water by the Spoonful,” which won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for drama is a fascinating puzzle that playwright Quiara Alegria Hudes gradually puts together for you during the two hour run time.

It is an intriguing play but the tone of a production is critical for its success, and the current production down at Studio Theater gets it just right. 

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