Author Archive | Amy Kotkin

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2017 Capital Fringe Review: ‘The Words She Gave Me’

The Words She Gave Me, Solia Bickersteth’s ambitious multimedia project, is a bighearted and moving exploration of how African-American women have shaped one another’s concept of womanhood. Sisterhood is powerful, she tells us. It is also intensely spiritual. As a DC-based singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur, Bickersteth not only wrote and directed the production, but also […]

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Review: ‘Jean and Dinah – The Play’ at The Essential Theatre

A disheveled bedroom in Port of Spain, Trinidad — home to the nearly incapacitated Dinah – is playwright Tony Hall’s incubator for an important and wide-ranging drama about the destructive effects of colonization and misogyny. His searing piece, Jean and Dinah – The Play, is a generation old, but a splendid new production by The […]

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Review: ‘The Magic Play’ at Olney Theatre Center

In the art of magic, Andrew Hinderaker has found a vivid metaphor for the dynamics of honesty, trust and control that underpin our most important relationships. His immensely entertaining and profound new work, The Magic Play, combines a jaw-dropping performance of classic card tricks with a compelling backstory of tender love. The result is breathtaking. […]

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Review: ‘Coolatully’ at Solas Nua

In the fictional village of Coolatully, a quartet of characters grapple with the effects of Ireland’s newest mass emigration. The brief and heady era of the Celtic Tiger was over; a mass exodus was triggered by the global financial crisis of 2007. The town is drying up and all who can leave are departing for […]

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Review: ‘The River’ at Spooky Action Theater

Jez Butterworth’s The River does not yield itself to easy interpretations. Uncertainty flows through the story, jostling us repeatedly. Its questions about truth and morality are specific and seismic at the same time. Under the sensitive direction of Rebecca Holderness, Spooky Action Theater’s new production of this 2012 play coaxes out its universal themes which Holderness […]

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Review: ‘The Hard Problem’ at The Studio Theatre

No shrinking violet when it comes to exploring humanity’s most complex questions, playwright Tom Stoppard takes a deep dive into the frontiers of neuroscience, human nature, and the existence of God in his newest play, The Hard Problem. Fortunately for all of us, Studio Theatre’s production of this fascinating drama sparkles with fresh insights into […]

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In Context: ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ at The Keegan Theatre

John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation was widely admired as an ingenious, penetrating look at contemporary society when it premiered in New York back in 1990. Based on a true story, it concerns a young, black, gay grifter who insinuates himself into some of Manhattan’s most sophisticated homes, posing as Sidney Poitier’s son. Ultimately, this drama […]

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Review #2: ‘Straight White Men’ at The Studio Theatre

If your empathy for straight white men was strained by last week’s elections, go see Young Jean Lee’s 2014 play at The Studio Theatre. You’ll be privy to a rare, funny and poignant look under the fig leaf of male dominance, where men struggle uncomfortably with their privileged status and fear of failing. Straight White […]

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Review: ‘The Night Alive’ at Quotidian Theatre Company

Conor McPherson spins an intricate web of interdependence, horror, and hope among the five damaged, yet intensely human characters in his masterful play, The Night Alive. It takes a hugely talented cast and superb direction to fully reveal the multiple layers of McPherson’s beautifully written saga. Fortunately, Quotidian Theatre Company’s production leads us expertly across […]

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Review: ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ at St. Mark’s Players

When the cast of St. Mark‘s Players’ new production, Peter and the Starcatcher, charges out from behind deep red curtains for their opening scene, that is your cue. Stop right here and suspend your disbelief. Let these talented actors lead you through the next hours of broad music hall farce, merriment, anguish, and mayhem. You’ll […]

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Review: ‘The Little Foxes’ at Arena Stage

The enduring popularity of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes offers proof positive that themes of greed, racism, and misogyny continue to resonate with contemporary audiences. Though set in a small Alabama town at the turn of the 20th century, as the South struggled to modernize its economy, the Hubbard family’s tragic tale echoes many of […]

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Review: Angelique Kidjo at The Music Center at Strathmore

The raves never stop pouring in for Grammy Award-winning singer, composer, and humanitarian Angelique Kidjo – nor should they. Called by NPR “Africa’s greatest living diva,” Kidjo’s ample gifts – her soaring and supple voice, superb songwriting, and mesmerizing choreography, combined with the driving rhythms of her talented band – were on full display at The […]

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The 7:30 PM ‘Summer Hummer V: Champions’ at Signature Theatre

Theater folks and fans alike reveled in last night’s Summer Hummer V: Champions –  the Washington Theater Community’s annual one-night-only benefit for theatreWashington’s ‘Taking Care of Our Own’ at the Signature Theatre last night. Each year, the organization raises much-needed emergency assistance for members of the theater community, everything from medical costs to transportation and […]

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2016 Capital Fringe Review: ‘How to Give Birth to a Rabbit’

In this season of our discontent, How to Give Birth to a Rabbit reminds us that bizarre hoaxes and media frenzies are hardly 21st-century inventions.  In fact, one of Western history’s more ludicrous episodes played out in 1726, when Mary Toft, a 24-year-old mother from a small English town, became the willing vessel for a […]

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2016 Capital Fringe Review: ‘The House of Yes’

Think about your worst family Thanksgiving ever, then amp up its bizarre agonies a thousand fold. Even then, you will not come close to the dysfunction displayed by the Pascal family of McLean, Virginia. I guarantee it. Wendy Macleod’s 1990 satiric psychodrama echoes Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf in its intensity, The Addams Family in […]

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2016 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Color Theory’

Magic: The Gathering, a trading card game representing epic battles between wizards, has an estimated 20 million active players worldwide. Judging from the enthusiastic reaction of the audience at the opening night’s performance of Color Theory, some of the game’s fervent devotees were right there, in the room. For the uninitiated, picture a card deck […]

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2016 Capital Fringe Review: ‘The Immaculate Big Bang’

No cosmic question is too challenging to escape the laser wit of Bill Santiago.  In The Immaculate Big Bang, which he wrote and performs, Santiago ruminates across a philosophical spectrum ranging from quantum physics to Catholicism, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to Islamic images of Paradise, as he probes under the hood of science and belief and […]

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