- 'Comedy of Errors' at Folger: Worth the 250-year wait. (Photo: Carol Pratt)
Reviews of recently-opened theater productions.
The Comedy of Errors at Folger Theatre
Director Aaron Posner channels Christopher Guest in Folger's latest, The Comedy of Errors. Presented as a play-within-a-play, the actors in the fictional Worcestershire Mask and Wig Society participate in a Waiting for Guffman-style mockumentary that can barely contain the ego of director Timothy Tushingham (Bruce Nelson). Then the actors step into their true selves: a pair of separated-at-birth twins who cause quite a mix-up. As Dromio and Antipholus are unwittingly reunited with their long-lost twin brothers, slapstick unfolds, with characters running into doors and doling out wet willies. The production is an enticing mash-up of 80s-inspired costumes with Commedia dell'arte half-masks, music straight out of a Charlie Chaplin film, and an Edwardian-turned-Technicolar set. The Worcestershire Mask and Wig Society claims to have been producing plays for more than 250 years, taking a break for a few centuries. In that case, Comedy of Errors was worth the wait.
Taffety Punk's Owl Moon at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop
If a full moon begets werewolves, and twilight makes vampires, an owl moon brings forth something just as scary: desperate women. Playwright Liz Maestri's debut play Owl Moon, presented by Taffety Punk, confronts the dire situations of three women. The first, Shell (Esther Williams) has just killed a man, and needs a place to dump the body with Salome (Kimberly Gilbert), her tough-talking accomplice. The other, Lisa (Tonya Beckman Ross), is losing her grip on reality in an attempt to win back her ex-boyfriend, Isaac (Joel David Santner). Brought together on a cold night in a remote cabin that has lost power, Shell and Lisa can only rely on their faith – in God and in rescue, which may come in the form of a hallucinated talking owl (Marcus Kyd). They'll wait for a long time, though, and so will you. Owl Moon begins as a comic study of what happens when bad ideas have even worse consequences. But after a few too many characters are knocked unconscious by shovels, the play devolves into a level of crazy that exceeds all sympathy for these very damaged characters.