City Paper is not for tourists
Competition-hungry and corruption-addled Washington, D.C., may be the perfect place for Lucas Hnath to premiere his new play, Red Speedo. The play investigates the larger cultural obsession with competition and corruption, but through the lens of the elite amateur sports world. Protagonist Ray is a competitive swimmer cruising towards a Speedo sponsorship. But when performance-enhancing drugs are found in the team’s locker room, doping rumors spiral, and Ray’s tasked with quelling the rumors and making a tough decision. Hnath is known for embracing both the weird and the quotidian in his work; one of his comedies has Isaac Newton experimenting with sticking a needle in his tear duct, and his play about the death of Walt Disney is ostensibly a reworking of Shakespeare’s King Lear, he told the New York Times. His thing is blending culture, both the high and the low, to investigate what this stuff says about our world.