1st Stage’s award-winning, 100-person theatre can be found in the corner of a strip mall in the middle of Tysons Corner. Identifiable by the year-round twinkling lights and the eager patrons crowding the lobby before every performance, 1st Stage is warm, modern, and charming.
Clearly written, sharp and witty, brilliantly staged and beautifully acted…
Written by award-winning female playwright and librettist E.M. Lewis, this world-premiere of Now Comes the Night features a stellar three-person all-male cast and is part of the DC’s Women’s Voices Festival taking place this Fall.
Now Comes the Night is Lewis’ sequel to her award-winning play Heads about a journalist, photographer, engineer and network journalist held captive in Iraq from 2004-2006. That being said, Now Comes the Night stands firmly on its own two feet.
Michael Après (Dylan Myers) a network journalist and co-anchor for the Hartford Evening News has returned home after being held captive for eighteen months in Iraq. Not only is Michael not leaving his apartment, opening his mail, or eating anything but ice cream and bourbon, he is gushing anti-American propaganda. During a television interview! Most worryingly, Michael’s only confidant is Jack Velazquez (Sun King Davis), a photojournalist who died 11 days into their captivity.
Early on, Michael’s former co-anchor and best friend, Brad Flanigan (Jaysen Wright) manages to talk his way into Michael’s apartment. Employing tactics that anyone with a friend will recognize and assisted by the unseen Jack, Brad manages to convince his friend to divulge the details of his captivity.
Director Alex Levy’s staging is subtle and keeps the focus squarely on his small cast. Michael’s apartment, chic and minimal, in Hartford, is the setting for this dynamic play exploring captivity, heroism, friendship and betrayal through the eyes of three very different men.
Now Comes the Night at 1st Stage is notable for its terrific performances. Wright’s Brad Flanigan is a convincingly frustrated and concerned friend. As he paces the stage, I can almost feel the wheels in Brad’s head turn as he works diligently to combat Michael’s lies. Myers’s Michael is an agonizingly broken man and his commitment to the physicality and emotional dramatics of the role is commendable and at times jarring. Wright and Myers have a tangible physical chemistry that electrifies the air during moments of tension.
Jack (Davis) is a complex but supportive imaginary friend. Like a real-life phantom, Davis takes advantage of Jack’s peripheral existence. It is not easy to forget when an actor like Davis is onstage but Davis knows when to pull back to the shadows and when to step into the light.
Clearly written, sharp and witty, brilliantly staged and beautifully acted, Now Comes the Night moved swiftly and kept me thoroughly engaged. If you are not used to venturing out of DC for professional theatre, be adventurous and venture out to 1st Stage for its season debut Now Comes the Night!
Running Time: 2 hours including a 15 minute intermission
Advisory: Adult themes
Now Comes the Night runs through October 11th at 1st Stage as part of the Inaugural Women’s Voices Festival located at 1524 Spring Hill Road, McLean, VA 22102. For tickets call (703) 854-1856 or click here.