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To April 2
Legend has it that Georg Hegel loved Rameau’s Nephew so much that he kept two copies and reluctantly sent one to Karl Marx. Irreconcilable differences over common morality between a staid philosopher and the irascible nephew of a great composer (pictured) form the crux of the story’s conflict. Denis Diderot’s original manuscript—drafted as a novella in 1761 and amended every year until the author’s death in 1784—revels in the art of bon mots and aphorisms. Shelly Berc and Andrei Belgrader’s stage adaptation (originally presented off-Broadway in the late ’80s) remains faithful to its period setting with a wink and a nudge. In Spooky Action Theater’s production, Joseph Perna takes his cues from Bill Irwin with a kinetic performance as the Nephew, and Joseph Cronin’s deadpan performance as the Philosopher provides the perfect foil during a slapstick routine revolving around a bottle of wine, a glass, and one character’s unquenchable thirst. “At the rate we’re going, I don’t know what will happen to art,” remarks the Nephew before a display that suggests the lasting impact of French philosophy on parliamentary debate and punk rock. The show runs at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Flashpoint’s Mead Theatre Lab, 916 G St. NW. Free. (800) 494-8497. (Nick Green)