‘Contractions’ at The Studio Theatre’s 2ndStage by David Friscic

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The Studio Theatre’s 2ndStage has produced a very exciting and provocative new play by Mike Bartlett entitled Contractions The message of this play is that we are often pawns of unfeeling regulations and codes of conduct in the workplace, and that our private autonomy is sacrificed in strict subservience to the all-powerful company/office. This is a very satiric and disturbing (and all too relevant to today) piece, and it is swiftly and effectively directed by Duncan Macmillan.

Holly Twyford. Photo: Scott Suchman.
Holly Twyford. Photo by Scott Suchman.

Delivered in one jolting hour, the play feels like a Swiftian satire where the most seemingly insane solution is proposed for the efficiency of the almighty office. I cannot divulge much at all about the contents of the play or I would have to issue a spoiler alert; suffice it to say that the officious barbs fly fast and furious in this two-character play. If you think that the boss played by Meryl Streep in the film The Devil Wears Prada was a stern authority figure, nothing can prepare you for the audacious character that Metro D.C. veteran stage actress Holly Twyford 
creates. Every movement and inflection of Twyford is pitch-perfect.

As Emma, the vulnerable yet resilient employee, Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan is superb. Keegan never overplays her hand and possesses a very interesting subtle manner of stage movement.

Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan. Photo:by Scott Suchman.
Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan. Photo by Scott Suchman.

The air of anxiety and tension that hovers over each successive scene is effectively accentuated by the juxtaposition of stimulating Sound Design effects by James Bigbee Garver. Luciana Stecconi’s Set Design is a striking example of modern, stark, monochromatic efficiency.

Studio 2ndStage has produced an intellectually challenging and exhilarating hit!

Running Time: One hour with no intermission.

Contractions plays through January 27th, 2013 at The Studio Theatre’s 2ndStage – 1501 14th Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets call (202) 332-3300, or purchase them online.

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David Friscic
David has always had a passionate interest in the arts from acting in professional dinner theatre and community theatre to reviewing film and local theatre in college to making numerous treks to New York City to indulge his interest in live theatre. An enthusiastic interest in writing has shown itself in a BA in English/Education and an MA in English Literature. Taken together, these two interests have culminated in the logical conclusion of writing for an arts blog. David moved up and down the East Coast due to his father's job at General Electric and this has helped him to perceive the world in a very open way. After his schooling, David taught in Catholic school systems for awhile and, then, spent three years in the seminary with two years at Catholic University studying Theology and one year in a practicuum working at a church in New York State. David currently works at the National Science Foundation as a Technical Information Specialist for the Office of Polar Programs and has had the great opportunity to go to Antarctica twice and Greenland once in support of the research community. He enjoys living in Bethesda and has taken courses at the Writer's Center. David enjoys swimming, traveling, reading, and working on committees at his condo. His major interest, however, is the arts and all it encompasses---from symphony, to film, to museum treks to live theatre. He counts having lunch with Lillian Gish and meeting Lily Tomlin, Geraldine Page, Maureen Stapleton, Liza Minnelli and Sandy Dennis as some of the more exciting encounters of his life.