City Paper is not for tourists
The 1990s produced a whole class of playwrights adept at masking wafer-thin premises with sparkling dialogue and a trained eye on human mannerisms. Folks such as Kenneth Lonergan, Patrick Marber, and Studio Theatre darling Neil LaBute all eventually produced a more synergistic marriage of form and content, but Melissa James Gibson followed one troublesome play about dashed hopes and daydreams ([sic]) with another exercise in stunted speech patterns and shallow insights (Suitcase). But the premise of her third script, Current Nobody—a loose modern adaptation of The Odyssey—is rock-solid. In Gibson’s topsy-turvy take, Penelope is a globe-trotting photo-journalist while Odysseus plays stay-at-home dad. The company’s synopsis suggests an examination of gender roles and the invasiveness of the media, both of which seem awfully timely. That’s not generally what we think of when exploring the theatrical canon, but with a playwright who’s preoccupied with drawing tensions to the surface and, moreover, the here and now, it’s everything. The play opens Monday, Oct. 29, and runs to Sunday, Nov. 25, at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D St NW. $24n$57. (202) 393-3939; see woollymammoth.net for a complete schedule.