Between Scena, Solas Nua, and Keegan, there’s no shortage of contemporary Irish theater in D.C. each season. The rest of Europe isn’t quite so generously represented. Consider Goethe-Institut’s latest initiative, Zeitgeist DC, a slight correction to that imbalance: The project, deemed a “literary collective,” pairs playwrights from Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland with local actors and directors from Shakespeare Theatre Company, Arena Stage, and Ford’s Theatre for a series of staged readings. The first is Marius von Mayenburg’s The Ugly One, a 2007 work whose synopsis reads like a plastic surgery-themed take on The Picture of Dorian Gray. In other words, it’s a play about artifice and identity and how one complicates the other, but that doesn’t necessarily require a fussy treatment. I’m guessing the reading’s bare-bones approach will suit the material just fine.
The reading takes place at 7 p.m. at Goethe-Institut, 812 7th St. NW. Free. (202) 289-1200.