THEATERA piece of theater historyCarlyle Brown's "The...

WEEKEND PICKS

February 13, 1993|By J. Wynn Rousuck ART De Kooning: late, great

THEATER

A piece of theater history

Carlyle Brown's "The African Company," which is receiving its East Coast premiere at Washington's Arena Stage (6th and Maine Ave., S.W.), is about a fascinating chapter of American theatrical history that is all too often glossed over, or ignored -- the black Shakespearean troupe called the African Company, which performed in New York in the early 19th century. Despite some creaky elements, the play is presented with such gusto, it's almost as if this overlooked company is finally getting its due. Show times are today at 2:30 p.m., and tomorrow at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25-$30. Call (202) 488-3300. Two current local shows give us a lot of Elaine de Kooning's work to look at, and reveal her as an artist of subtlety and nuance who realized her potential most fully at both ends of her career but in the middle tried to be something she wasn't -- big, bold and aggressive. Her late paintings and drawings based on the Lascaux cave paintings are lyrical in an almost romantic, Turneresque way, and are definitely her best. The exhibits continue at Maryland Institute, College of Art, Mount Royal Station Building, Mount Royal Avenue and Cathedral Street, through Feb. 21, and at C. Grimaldis Gallery, 1006 Morton St., through Feb. 27.

John Dorsey

MOVIES

Day after day after day

"Groundhog Day" is a wonderfully zany Bill Murray comedy in which the big goof from Wilmette, Ill., finds himself stuck in Punxsutawney, Pa., on Groundhog Day after Day after Day after Day. There's got to be a morning after, but it's this morning. Murray is dyspeptic and rancid as he is stuck in a hick burg for a year of Ground Hog Days, and turns his dilemma to cynical effect, using it to seduce the local women and commit suicide in a number of amusing ways. But, gradually, he sheds himself of attitude and tries to have the best Feb. 2 anybody's ever had and the movie acquires a great poignancy. With Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott. ***. PG-13.

Stephen Hunter

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