- ‘Blood at the Root’ at Theater Alliance.
“. . . electric and alive and thought-provoking and mesmerizing. . . . Don’t miss this one. – Mary Ann Johnson.
Synopsis: When a black student disrupts the status quo at her high school by occupying space typically reserved for white students, her community erupts in hate speech, violence, and chaos. Inspired by the Jena Six case, which roiled tensions in Louisiana in 2006, Morisseau’s play scrutinizes the intrinsic links between justice, bias, and identity. Moving, lyrical, and bold, Blood at the Root probes the complexities of race, individual freedoms, and what justice means when biases have been normalized.
2. ‘Oil’ at Olney Theatre Center.
“For those who love provocative and artfully done theatre, Oil is a must-see show. Don’t let it slip away before you get your ticket.” – Susan Brall.
Synopsis: This “scorchingly ambitious,” (The Guardian), genre-busting American premiere follows mothers and daughters over two centuries, from the dawn of the age of oil in 1889 to its “peak oil” demise sometime in the not-too-distant future. In five separate but connected playlets, a single mother named May defies the odds to provide for her daughter Amy by any means necessary. From Cornwall to Tehran, London, Baghdad, and back, the mother-daughter power struggle evolves and shifts, even as the resources that fuel it (and the rest of the world) begin to dwindle. This American premiere is bursting with theatricality and big ideas about feminism, imperialism, and environmentalism from a leading playwright wowing audiences in the U.K.
3. ‘The Effect’ at Fells Point Corner Theatre.
“I found the characters more cerebral in their physical and verbal displays and I give much credit to the actors for being so steady and natural in their performance.” – JV Torres.
Synopsis: “There’s no such thing as side effects…They’re just effects you can’t sell.” It’s the classic story of boy meets girl. Boy likes girl and girl likes boy. They fall in love. But why? Connie and Tristan are test subjects in a clinical trial for a new antidepressant in development. Their immediate and fevered love ends up risking the integrity of the trial while they wrangle with the very origin and nature of their feelings. Are they truly meant for each other, or is it just the effect of some drug?
4. ‘Time Stands Still’ at Reston Community Players.
“This is a thoughtful, fully-realized production that asks some uncomfortable questions…” – Mary Ann Johnson.
Synopsis: Time Stands Still examines the lives of one couple making a living out of documenting the horrors of war. When Sarah, a photojournalist returns from covering the Iraq War after being injured by a roadside bomb, her reporter boyfriend James is swamped by guilt after having left Sarah alone in Iraq. Physically bruised and emotionally beaten, Sarah and James explore whether it is possible for two people who are used to living in dangerous conditions to carve out a normal life.
5. ‘Vanity Fair’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company.
“…making this ‘Vanity Fair’ a pleasure to watch for its theatrical artistry as much as for its smart retelling of this story.” –Peter Orvetti.
Synopsis: Becky Sharp never blushes. As the wily Becky and her gentle friend Amelia scale social ladders and hurdle the whims of fate, only one question matters: how do you get what you want in life? A bright dance hall pageant poking fun at all our pretenses, this new adaptation harnesses the frivolity of Thackeray’s novel while recasting its (anti) heroines as complex, vibrant women, delivering “a gift to actors and a goody bag for its audience” (The New York Times). Acclaimed playwright Kate Hamill (Sense and Sensibility, The Wall Street Journal’s Playwright of the Year 2017) brings her signature quick wit and distinctly unfussy retelling of classic work to one of literature’s most celebrated novels.