All stories by Ian Thal on BroadwayStars

Friday, August 9, 2019

‘In Your Shoes’: A Theatrical Experiment in Fostering a Democratic Ethos at Georgetown University by Ian Thal

In the Devine black box theater at Georgetown University’s Davis Performing Arts Center, nine casually dressed undergraduate students, seated in chairs or on the floor take turns telling t…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:58PM
Monday, April 8, 2019

Review: ‘The Peculiar Patriot’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company by Ian Thal

A klaxon sounds. A video montage of “Betsy” LaQuanda Ross (actor and playwright Liza Jessie Peterson) passing through the visitor entrance at a correctional facility plays in black and w…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:58PM
Monday, March 11, 2019

Review: We Happy Few’s ‘Macbeth’ at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop by Ian Thal

Taking their seats in the black box theater, the audience is confronted with three immobile figures cloaked in chiaroscuro, as small, gold-leafed picture frames faintly reflect tiny boxes of…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:02PM
Saturday, January 26, 2019

Review: ‘Kleptocracy’ at Arena Stage by Ian Thal

A young Vladimir Putin (Christopher Geary) steps onto the stage, wearing a 1980s tracksuit, quoting a passage from the Soviet absurdist and surrealist writer Daniil Kharms (1905-1942) “How…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:18PM
Thursday, December 13, 2018

Review: ‘Talley’s Folly’ at Theater J by Ian Thal

As Talley’s Folly opens, 40-something-year-old, self-described “hairy Jewish accountant” Matt Friedman (John Taylor Phillips) steps onto the stage and informs the audience that he …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:44PM
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Review: The Welders’ ‘In This Hope: A Pericles Project’ at Spooky Action Theater by Ian Thal

From the moment the audience enters the large square room that is Spooky Action Theater’s church basement home, Environmental Designer Colin K. Bills has already communicated to the au…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:11PM
Monday, November 12, 2018

Review: ‘Our Class’ at Georgetown University by Ian Thal

Tadeusz Slobodzianek’s Our Class opens in 1926 in a kindergarten classroom in a small town in northeastern Poland. Whereas in most of Europe’s Jews had experienced a long history…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:32AM
Sunday, November 4, 2018

Review: ‘Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay!’ at Caos on F. by Ian Thal

Nobel laureate Dario Fo’s Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay! (one of several English language renderings of the original title, Non Si Paga! Non Si Paga!) opens as Antonia (Francesca Ma…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:37PM
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Review: ‘King John’ at Folger Theatre by Ian Thal

King John is so rarely performed (indeed, it’s been a decade since I last saw it staged) that the current Aaron Posner-directed production at the Folger Theatre opens with a primer on …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:30AM
Saturday, October 27, 2018

Review: We Happy Few’s ‘A Midnight Dreary’ at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop by Ian Thal

Entering the black box theater space at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, it is clear that We Happy Few’s A Midnight Dreary is not a normal theatrical adaptation of classic literature. A…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:00PM
Monday, October 8, 2018

Review: The Coil Project’s ‘Strange Tales: Paradise Motel’ at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop by Ian Thal

Seasonally-themed evenings of short plays are a staple for smaller theater companies – and with Halloween just weeks away, The Coil Project offers up a quartet of violent and supernatural …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:17PM
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Review: ‘The Comedy of Errors’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company by Ian Thal

The Comedy of Errors is one of Shakespeare’s earliest and most popular works, so there is little point recounting the plot. One must only remember that it is the one with two sets of t…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:17PM
Sunday, September 16, 2018

Review: “The Pianist of Willesden Lane” by Theater J by Ian Thal

Storytelling is one of the most ancient of the performing arts, distinct from that of the dramatic actor, and when Mona Golabek makes her entrance, it is not as an actor playing a character …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:01PM
Monday, September 10, 2018

Review: ‘Gloria’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company by Ian Thal

Director Kip Fagan opens this production of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Gloria with a clever conceit: Miles (Justin Weaks), an office intern, is at his desk, as the contrapuntal woodwinds …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:13PM
Thursday, July 26, 2018

2018 Capital Fringe Review: ’52:12′ by Ian Thal

The melody may be unfamiliar, but the music that opens The 100th Monkey Theatre Ensemble’s 52:15 is immediately recognizable as a television news show open. A reporter, speaking to the…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:59AM
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Review: ‘The Theory of Theories’ at District of Columbia Arts Center by Ian Thal

An unnamed academic (Cristen Stephansky), in town for a conference, lounges on a sofa taking notes for her presentation. Her host, (Karoline Troger) a similarly unnamed Austrian scholar now …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:21PM
Saturday, July 21, 2018

2018 Capital Fringe Review: ‘The Truth*’ by Ian Thal

An ancient professor (Mickey Hays) ambles into the lecture hall, his collapsed posture and bowlegged, turned-out stance recalling Pantalone of the commedia dell’arte (he even wears the…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:07PM

2018 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Beauty and the Beat’ by Ian Thal

ORT Productions’ Beauty and the Beat begins with a trio of dancers (Kelly Hogan, Carrie Monger, and Amy Scaringe) entering in formation into the graffitied performance space of the Bli…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 05:21PM
Monday, July 16, 2018

2018 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Roko’s Basilisk’ by Ian Thal

As the audience enters to see Roko’s Basilisk produced by Reliant Theatre, they are handed not a playbill, but a flyer, whose relevance is not immediately apparent. Its text simply st…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:43AM
Sunday, July 8, 2018

2018 Capital Fringe Review: ‘The Accidental Pilgrim’ by Ian Thal

Theatre Du Jour’s The Accidental Pilgrim is an ensemble-devised work, directed by company co-founder B. Stanley. The ensemble’s style is heavily indebted to such twentieth-centur…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:20PM
Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Review: ‘Trayf’ a World Premiere at Theatre J by Ian Thal

New York, 1991: Zalmy (Tyler Herman) and Shmuly (Josh Adams) are two young men, best friends since childhood, excited to get behind the wheel of their newly acquired RV. What makes them diff…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:08PM
Monday, June 4, 2018

Review: ‘An Iliad’ at Atlas Performing Arts Center by Ian Thal

The setting (designed by Daniel Prosky) is not a battlefield in Anatolia in modern day Turkey, but what appears to be the office of an academic – perhaps a classicist. There is no computer…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:34PM
Sunday, May 20, 2018

Review: ‘The Cherry Orchard’ by Faction of Fools at Gallaudet University’s Eastman Theatre by Ian Thal

Though it has commonly been staged as a tragedy or psychological drama since its Moscow premiere, Anton Chekhov always insisted that The Cherry Orchard was a comedy. A story about an aristoc…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:23PM
Sunday, April 15, 2018

Review: ‘Use All Available Doors’ by Pinky Swear Productions at Dupont Underground by Ian Thal

Sherry (Lady Davonne), a WMATA train driver, starts her day at Shady Grove in Derwood, MD. She has a word with the lead car of her train, “Forty-Twenty”: a soon to be decommissioned vehi…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:31PM
Monday, April 9, 2018

Review: ‘Blood Wedding (Bodas de Sangre)’ at American University’s Greenberg Theatre by Ian Thal

Though he had a wide stylistic range, in America, Federico García Lorca’s fame as a playwright is mostly limited to his rural tragedy, Blood Wedding (Bodas de Sangre) which was origin…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:25PM

Review: ‘Cabaret Noir’ by Happenstance Theater by Ian Thal

The phrase “film noir” evokes both a particular sub-genre of the crime film as well as a particular era. Inspired by the moody expressionist dramas of the silent era that had come to an …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 05:51PM
Monday, March 5, 2018

Theater Review: “Winter Solstice” — The Neo-Nazi Who Came For Christmas by Ian Thal

Schimmelpfennig's Winter Solstice is an important play by a major playwright.

Linked From The Arts Fuse at 06:01PM
Friday, February 23, 2018

Theater Review: Regicide in the Chapel — Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s “Richard III” by Ian Thal

Steven Barkhimer's mastery of the role's physicality is the key to his expression of its villainy.

Linked From The Arts Fuse at 01:56PM
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Theater Review: “Accidental Death of an Anarchist – The Vexation of Violence by Ian Thal

Dario Fo's dark comedy still deserves its reputation as a classic.

Linked From The Arts Fuse at 11:36PM
Monday, November 27, 2017

Theater Review: Israeli Stage’s “The Hearing” — Academic Freedom, Under Pressure by Ian Thal

Scripts like The Hearing also provide an optic through which to examine our own nation's problems.

Linked From The Arts Fuse at 03:24PM
Sunday, November 12, 2017

Theater Review: “The Revolutionists” — Comedy During the Reign of Terror by Ian Thal

Director Courtney O'Connor, the Nora Theatre, and its skilled cast do right by this hilarious historical comedy.

Linked From The Arts Fuse at 02:24PM

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