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By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | November 18, 2000
The program for the Shakespeare Theatre's latest production describes the setting as, "The landscape of King Richard II's mind." Unfortunately, in this interpretation it's not an especially interesting mind to visit. Director Gerald Freedman's metaphorical setting makes some sense since, for most of "Richard II," the king is unable to see beyond himself. As portrayed by Wallace Acton, he's a weary, almost apathetic hedonist, a man who doesn't give a great deal of thought to much of anything, except self-indulgence.
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FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | January 28, 1998
A little boy who refuses to grow up is at the core of the bold, intriguing production of Henrik Ibsen's "Peer Gynt" at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre.Think of Peer as an existentialist Peter Pan or perhaps a Kierkegaardian Candide. When he was a boy, Peer's mother tells us, she regaled him with fables and fairy tales. They had a lasting effect, though Peer hardly lived happily ever after. Instead of facing reality, he deluded himself, and his life turned into a series of ever grimmer fairy tales.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | December 19, 1995
Shakespeare's "Henry V" is a politically malleable play. It can be staged as a pro-war paean to patriotism -- the 1944 Laurence Olivier film is the most famous example -- or as an anti-war testament, as was often the case with productions during the Vietnam War era.Director Michael Kahn staged one of the better known anti-war interpretations in 1969. But his current production at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre occupies more neutral ground, focusing more on the nature of the king than on the philosophical and political issues of war.Pulling this off demands a subtle, accomplished performer in the title role.
NEWS
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,[sun theater critic] | November 26, 2006
George Farquhar ended his 1707 comedy, The Beaux' Stratagem, with a dance, but just about everything in director Michael Kahn's sprightly production at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre seems to dance -- especially the scenery. 'THE BEAUX' STRATAGEM' / / Through Dec. 31 / / Shakespeare Theatre, 450 7th St. N.W., Washington / / 877-487-8849 or shakespearetheatre.org
ENTERTAINMENT
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN STAFF | August 28, 2003
Washington's Shakespeare Theatre opens its season Tuesday with Richard Brinsley Sheridan's 1775 comedy, The Rivals. Tessa Auberjonois stars as Lydia Languish, the young lady who falls in love with a poor ensign who is really a well-to-do captain in disguise. Hank Stratton plays her love interest, and the supporting cast includes such Shakespeare Theatre favorites as Emery Battis, Edward Gero, Floyd King, David Sabin and Nancy Robinette (as the language-slaughtering Mrs. Malaprop). Director Keith Baxter, the Welsh-born actor who also directed the Shakespeare Theatre's 2000 production of William Wycherley's The Country Wife, has reassembled the same design team for this latest effort -- set designer Simon Higlett, costume designer Robert Perdziola and lighting designer Peter West.
ENTERTAINMENT
By J. Wynn Rousuck | January 20, 2000
Shakespeare's last tragedy, "Coriolanus," currently in previews at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre, traces the journey of an arrogant Roman military leader from hero to traitor. The production, directed by Michael Kahn, stars Andrew Long. It features the largest cast in the Shakespeare Theatre's history. The updated design features costumes by Jess Goldstein that suggest the fascist regime of Mussolini and a set by Walt Spangler highlighted by a giant staircase that combines the feel of both classical Rome and art deco.
ENTERTAINMENT
By J. Wynn Rousuck | March 28, 2002
Newcomers and veterans star in a new `Romeo and Juliet' Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's tragic masterpiece about thwarted love, opens Sunday at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre. The production is staged by Rachel Kavanaugh, a young British director with a reputation for focusing on Shakespeare's language. Shakespeare Theatre newcomers Paul Whitthorne and Jennifer Ikeda head a cast that also includes such long-time company members as Emery Battis, Edward Gero, Floyd King and David Sabin.
NEWS
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,Sun Theater Critic | February 11, 2007
In Richard III at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre, everything is off kilter. The set, designed by Lee Savage, slants in one direction, and the floor slants in the other. As the duplicitous title character, Geraint Wyn Davies looks normal from one side and disfigured from the other -- clubfoot, withered arm, hunchback and a face in dire need of a Phantom of the Opera mask. RICHARD III / / Through March 18 at the Shakespeare Theatre, 450 7th St. N.W., Washington -- $19-$76.25. 877-487-8849 or shakespearetheatre.
FEATURES
By J. WYNN ROUSUCK and J. WYNN ROUSUCK,SUN THEATER CRITIC | June 14, 2006
The Fab Four and Shakespeare's Love's Labor's Lost. You might not see an immediate connection, but director Michael Kahn does, and he makes the most of it in his 1960s update of the courtly comedy at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre. Shakespeare's play is about three young noblemen who, with King Ferdinand of Navarre, vow to devote themselves to three years of study and forsake worldly indulgences, including the company of women. In Kahn's rendition, the three young men are members of a Beatles-like rock group.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,Sun Theater Critic | September 9, 2006
It's surprising that the great filmmaker Frank Capra never made a movie of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People. Like the title character in Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ibsen's protagonist, Dr. Stockmann, takes on the political power structure. And like George Bailey in Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, Dr. Stockmann is -- at least initially -- concerned with the welfare of the people. But at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre, with the exception of Joseph Urla's carefully nuanced Dr. Stockmann, most of the portrayals of Ibsen's characters come across merely as foils, lacking dimension or shading.
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