Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: WLDC 2012 Theater Preview (Part 1)

The We Love DC Theater team: Don Whiteside, Patrick Pho, Jenn Larsen, and Joanna Castle Miller.

Fall is in the air and that means one thing…


Oh ya and Theatre.

As new seasons across the District kick-off, the We Love DC Theater team got together at The Brixton to talk about the upcoming year in theater – and I got some of it on video! Find out which shows we are excited about in the first of two videos below!

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Entertainment, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Measure for Measure

Taffety Punk's Measure for Measure: Esther Williamson as Isabella, and Kimberly Gilbert as Angelo

Esther Williamson as Isabella, and Kimberly Gilbert as Angelo
Photo by Kristin Holodak

“Measure for Measure” could be described in simplest terms as a “he said, she said” kind of play. When fellow author Don shared his thoughts on Taffety Punk’s current production with me, it fascinated me that we had two disparate views. So why not mimic the play’s conceit and split the review?

Before we go into it, plot please? The leader of the free world gives it all up temporarily for some meditation practice, leaving a stuck-up prig in charge as a test. The prig goes to town cleaning up the junkies and whores, jailing a reprobate with a hot virgin as a sister. Virgin begs for her brother’s life, prig will give it if she sleeps with him. All hell breaks loose with the leader working the marionette strings behind the scenes.

At least, that was how my professor described it.

So here goes, our little gender joint review experiment… Continue reading

Entertainment, The Hill, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Romeo & Juliet, Redux

Taffety Punk's Romeo & Juliet, photo by Teresa Castracane

Rahaleh Nassri (Romeo) and Kelsey Grouge (Juliet), photo by Teresa Castracane

Taffety Punk Theatre Company sure has guts. The marketing for their all-female “answer” to Shakespeare Theatre Company’s all-male production of Romeo & Juliet had me instantly intrigued: “An hour shorter, a fraction of the cost, and 100% more women. We will totally crush them!” Really, with that kind of chutzpah shown by director Lise Bruneau, how could I not go? And only $10 bucks!

I wasn’t disappointed.

This is a very stripped down production that manages within limited budget and extremely tight space constraints to hit most of the passion points of the play. It’s like watching “The Outsiders” do Shakespeare, using very contemporary speech patterns and body language that help to freshly illuminate the text.

Two outstanding performances in this vein are Rahaleh Nassri as Romeo and Kimberly Gilbert as Mercutio. I swear every time Nassri came on, I thought I heard Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Possess Your Heart” – so perfectly did she embody that particular style of hipster boy the girls have a crush on. Oh, he may start out as a bit of a player, but once he’s hooked he’s yours forever. It’s a brilliant bit of naturalistic acting and she’s completely believable as a lovestruck teen. Continue reading