There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
In his day, Oscar Wilde was widely known for his audacious behavior and bold works of drama. In contemporary Britain, playwright Mark Ravenhill occupies a similar niche and co-opts some of Wilde’s themes for his own work. Take Handbag, his 1998 play that gets its D.C.-area premiere this month courtesy of Scena Theatre. The action first focuses on two gay couples’ plans to raise a baby together in contemporary London, which end disastrously. Ravenhill then incorporates a pre-history of The Importance of Being Earnest into the plot before blending the two worlds together, effectively erasing any progress that was made in the name of gay rights over the intervening century. Even with the catastrophe that sits at the center of Handbag, Ravenhill imbues the work with a touch of black comedy, ensuring the audience a pleasurable night at the theater. Just keep the “dead baby” jokes to yourself. The play runs Nov. 6 to 30 at the Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE. $10–$40. (703) 684-7990. scenatheatre.org.