We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
As stage-to-film adaptations go, Terrence McNally’s revised screenplay for his Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune is the gold standard for intriguing failures. Garry Marshall’s sterile 1991 flick bears little, if any, resemblance to the playwright’s audacious off-Broadway script. So what the hell was McNally thinking? A faithful translation of the play would never have passed muster with the MPAA, because a heady quota of naked flesh is demanded by the plot. Neurotic waitress Frankie (Erika Imhoof) and motormouth short-order cook Johnny (Ken Arnold) have one night to explore whether raw passion can blossom into romance—the clothes stay off and the truth comes out. Imhoof’s and Arnold’s bold, naturalistic performances for Quotidian Theatre Company unchain these terminally lonely 40-somethings and turn them into sensual, vigorous beings. Like the rest of McNally’s work, proximity to the subject only enhances the viewing experience: The older you get, the more you can relate to the idea of hoping for the best, expecting the worst, and embracing whatever falls in between. The play runs 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays to Sunday, June 18, at the Writer’s Center, 4508 Walsh St., Bethesda. $20. (301) 816-1023. (Nick Green)