Author Archive | Robert Michael Oliver

12806100_1581824575469774_8575957378079862874_n

Spine: ‘Three Sisters’ by the Maly Drama Theatre at The Kennedy Center

With the Maly Drama Theatre’s Three Sisters, playing through April 30 at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theatre, theatre lovers will feast on every slow motion wonderment, every long glance into emptiness, every hysterical laugh at utterly meaningless boredom. For this is Chekhov, the master playwright, and his master play, Three Sisters, being performed by a […]

Continue Reading
lores_smartpeople-illustration

Review: ‘Smart People’ at Arena Stage

As soon as the lights come up on Lydia R. Diamond’s Smart People, now playing at Arena’s Kreeger Theater, the focus is clear. Or is it? Are four really “smart” people, who are only trying to save the world from itself, being shut down by an entrenched Western, “racist” mindset? Or are four “smart” people […]

Continue Reading
Mosaic April sidebar

Spine: ‘A Human Being Died That Night’ at Mosaic Theater Company

About midway through Mosaic Theater’s A Human Being Died That Night, Eugene de Kock, serving two life sentences for murder and assassination, turns to his interviewer, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, and says, in effect, that the privileged people of South Africa knew all along what he and the South African Special Forces were doing: the kidnapping, the torturing, the […]

Continue Reading
The Cast of 'Back to Methuselah Part 3.' Photo by C Stanley Photograph.

Review: ‘Back to Methuselah Part 3: As Far as Thought Can Reach’ at Washington Stage Guild

George Bernard Shaw loves words. Even his stage directions are wordy. He also loved ideas, philosophy, aesthetics, politics… In Back to Methuselah Part 3: As Far as Thought Can Reach, Shaw reaches that love’s zenith. The words roll, the ideas thunder, the philosophy rains, the aesthetics flood, the politics drown. And with it, The Washington […]

Continue Reading
Photo courtesy of The Kennedy Center.

Review: ‘Battlefield’ at The Kennedy Center

In The Empty Space Peter Brook declared that the stage has “two rules: (1) Anything can happen and (2) Something must happen.” In Battlefield, his collaboration with Marie-Hélène Estienne, those two rules are shown the exception. And the effect could not be more powerful. If not for the applause, I’d be sitting there still, absorbing […]

Continue Reading
FORUM REP

Review: ‘What Every Girl Should Know’ and ‘Dry Land’ in Rep at Forum Theatre

One hundred years separate the young women in What Every Girl Should Know and Dry Land, now playing in rep at Forum Theatre. In Monica Byrne’s What Every Girl Should Know, the four teenage girls are housed in a pre-suffrage Catholic reformatory where their capacity to dream is limited to fantasies of romance and murder. In Ruby Rae Spiegel’s Dry Land, the three […]

Continue Reading
17362003_10154521351986325_2231318462224565263_n

Review: ‘Needles and Opium’ at The Kennedy Center

Sometimes the viewer of a theatrical experience can only sit in wonder at the spectacle, not because elephants dance on soccer balls or trapeze artists spiral on silken threads, but because actors sit on ceilings while quoting Sartre’s Nausea and dialing 911 (metaphorically). Such a theatrical experience is Robert Lepage’s Needles and Opium, the first of The Kennedy Center’s Spotlight on […]

Continue Reading
1617-poster-thumb-block_watch-rhine

Review: ‘Watch on the Rhine’ at Arena Stage

Lillian Hellman’s Watch on the Rhine came to DC for a command performance on January 25, 1942. The occasion: Franklin Roosevelt’s 60th birthday. America had just entered World War II and the fight against fascism. Hellman’s 1941 masterpiece came to DC again last night, opening at the Mead Center’s Fichandler Stage. The occasion: a heightened debate […]

Continue Reading