City Paper is not for tourists
Every Thursday, we round up Pay-Whats and other cheap seats at local theaters. Just so’s your weekend is a little easier.
Before we start, remember the general rules: (A) Reservations for these? Not so much. (B) They’re offered on a space-available basis, so have a backup plan. (C) Click each theater name for details and contact info. Oh, and you might tell ‘em City Paper sent you.
Three new offerings, two holdovers still worth checking out if you haven’t. Plus note the $10 seats for Bedbound, the “ferociously claustrophobic slugfest” from Solas Nua and playwright Enda Walsh.
And courtesy of e-mail-happy theater booster Gary Maker, this reminder about other cheap seats: Lots of local theaters offer rush seats (sometimes called stampede seats or hottix or some other silliness) a half-hour or so before showtime. Theater J‘s, for instance, are $15 on weekdays and Sundays, $20 on Saturdays, available 30 minutes before curtain if a show’s not sold out. Woolly Mammoth’s are $10 at every show, 15 minutes before showtime. And remember there’s always TicketPlace, the half-price day-of-show outlet down in Penn Quarter. Those are evergreen recommendations; this week specifically, here’s what I know about:
- The Arabian Night, Rorschach Theatre. “Five people trapped in an apartment tower on the hottest night in history,” courtesy of one of D.C.’s most ambitious small companies and a widely celebrated German playwright who’s nevertheless not much known in the U.S. (Possibly because nobody can believe that Roland Schimmelpfennig is a real name.) London critic Michael Billington calls this one “an unnerving mix of Scheherazade and Hitchcock thriller;” Jenny McConnell Frederick directs a staging that, if Craigslist is any indication, has people striking sparks in the lobby. Critics see it this weekend. Pay-what preview tonight, Friday, at 8. Sanctuary Theatre, Casa Del Pueblo Methodist Church, 1459 Columbia Rd. NW.
- The Memorandum, Forum Theatre + Dance. Apparently things were ever thus: Vaclav Havel (yes, that Vaclav Havel; he was a playwright before he was the Czech president) weighs in on modern-day Washington madness with this 1965 play about bureaucratic attempts to manage the meaning of words. Michael Dove directs. Critics see it this weekend. Pay-what preview tonight, Friday, at 8 p.m. At the H Street Playhouse, 1365 H St. NE.
- Bedbound, Solas Nua. See Bob Mondello’s review. $10 tickets tonight, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30. (Tickets at box office under the name of “Walsh.”) At DCAC, 2438 18th St. NW.
- The Children’s Hour, Washington Shakespeare Company. Lee Gable directs Lillian Hellman’s classic tragic-lesbians melodrama, with a classically WSC twist: company artistic director Christopher Henley in the Shirley MacLaine role. Bob Mondello sez it’s “hugely effective Southern Gothic melodrama, with a killer of a last scene, and Gable makes sure that every lick of its pain singes the crowd out front.” Closing this weekend. Pay-What performance Saturday at 2 p.m. At Clark Street Playhouse, 601 S. Clark St., Arlington.
- Two-Headed, Washington Shakespeare Company. Mormons! Massacres! Two women “coming to terms with the intense nature of their relationship!” (I joke, but it’s one of the most satisfying productions I’ve seen in a while.) Gregg Henry directs Julie Jensen‘s script, starring Melissa Flaim and Lee Mikeska Gardner. Pay-What performance Monday at 8 p.m. through At Clark Street Playhouse, 601 S. Clark St., Arlington.
- Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, Olney Theatre Center. You haven’t ached—and everybody, everywhere should ache this way at least once—until you’ve heard cabaret diva Karen Akers murmur and yearn her way through “Marieke,” one of the typically eloquent song-poems celebrated in this ‘60s-vintage homage to Belgian troubador Jacques Brel. Shame he’s not actually still alive and well; his own high-drama recording of “Marieke” (sample it on iTunes) can be pretty astonishing, with all that passion (and all those gargled Flemish consonants). Director Jim Petosa comes at this staging with a political gleam in his eye and a bag of Brechtian tricks, plus a cast of eight; critics see it next week. Pay-What preview Monday at 7:30 p.m. Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd., Olney, Md.