Entering the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop black box theater for a performance of Courage: A Political Theatre Revival is a bit like crashing your neighbor’s weekend-long house party. The place is a mess, you don’t know anyone, but everyone seems to be having crazy fun so you jump right in, why not? If you aren’t the sort who likes the fourth wall being broken repeatedly as actors address you directly and encourage you to participate, this isn’t the production for you. But if you love party-crashing, you’ll get along.
Maybe you shouldn’t trust my opinion, after all, I was handed a beer shortly upon arrival. It’s a new strategy, getting your reviewer tipsy, but everyone else was doing it too (so yes, I caved to peer pressure). In addition to free beer, you’ll be recruited into the army with a hilarious questionnaire. This raucous atmosphere before the show even begins puts you both at ease and on edge at the same time – the perfect mood for a work that’s actually based on Bertolt Brecht’s classic anti-war play Mother Courage and Her Children.
This production by dog & pony dc uses the very colloquial David Hare version as a starting point, accented by a live band with original music by John Milosich and directed (or rather, “radically re-imagined”) by Rachel Grossman, who describes the action as “NASCAR punk political theatre mosh-pit.” Apt. It closes June 26, so race on over – performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30pm.
Now that you’re prepared for the preamble, what about the production itself? Continue reading