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TO JULY 24
As additions to the annals of stupid company names go, Meat & Potato Theatre’s a gimme. (And why just the one potato?) Then again, one could say the same of Woolly Mammoth. And if the new, gastronomically named troupe’s maiden production, Infantry Monologues, is anything to go by, it could develop its own Mammoth reputation. Playwright/director Tobin Atkinson, who toured the Middle East with the BRAVO! Army Theatre Touring Company, plays the protagonist of the first of this trio of one-character playlets, “Coyoteway,” as an agitated, bloodied man whose interrogation reveals more and more mysteries. Next is “Use of Force,” with Jenny Crooks (pictured) as a Mexican-American soldier in the Iraqi conflict (“You know why they call it a ‘back-door draft’? ’Cause ‘fuck-you-in-the-ass draft’ takes too long to say.”) Finally, in “2CC,” Parker Dixon portrays the defendant in a tribunal held in a theocratic America, some time in the frighteningly near future. Each character has a talisman—a Navajo medicine pouch, a set of dog tags, a gold cross—whose symbolism is never simple. Each has made life-changing, and sometimes death-dealing, choices. And each is eloquently written and convincingly portrayed. The program’s revolutionary declarations (“Dissent IS patriotic”) may augur a plodding polemic, but the ensemble’s hand is so light and sure, and the script so intelligent, that you’ll actually believe things could come to the point where Americans in internment camps bear tattoos reading “2CC” on their arms. Find out what it stands for—and what this bright new company stands for—at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays (with 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays) to Sunday, July 24, at the Playbill Cafe, 1409 14th St. NW. $15. (703) 587-5730.