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Tag Archives | James Bigbee Garver

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Spine: Consciousness, Conscience, and ‘The Hard Problem’ at The Studio Theatre

Tom Stoppard’s The Hard Problem isn’t so much about consciousness and the existence of subjectivity, “the hard problem” elucidated by contemporary Australian philosopher David Chalmers, as it is about conscience and the human capacity to construct an ethical framework, a truly “impossible problem” (my own quotation marks). The fact that Tom Stoppard can take such […]

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Magic Time! ‘The Hard Problem’ at The Studio Theatre

I love when a play starts out as a fascinating head trip—a smart, high-concept exhilaration of ideas—then propels me headlong into an overwhelming flood of emotion. It’s like being transported along a neural pathway from brain to heart that the playwright has turned into a thoroughfare of theatrical euphoria. Tom Stoppard scripts that extraordinary excursion […]

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In the Moment: The Studio Theatre’s ‘The Hard Problem’

Studio Theatre’s production of The Hard Problem by Tom Stoppard charmed me with its intellectual and ideological turmoil fueled by verbal fierceness. With a shiny, contemporary veneer and Stoppard’s cleverly stylish verbal razzle dazzle about science and finance, I left the performance thinking I had been eaves-dropping on a cool late night argument on “big” issues […]

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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 the Moment: ‘Sense and Sensibility’ at Folger Theatre

Folger Theatre’s take on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility is just gonna charm you with its ingenious high-velocity agility, while depicting the tastefully hide-bound, tart world of gossip and corseted social mores of early 19th century England. Who knew that Jane Austen’s 200 year-old romantic-comedy focused on the rigidity and tensions between passion and ethics, fear […]

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Review: ‘Sense and Sensibility’ at Folger Theatre

Hey Girl, I Hear You Read Jane Austen; Sense and Sensibility at the Folger Theatre The appeal of Jane Austen’s heroines lies in their lovability. In Sense and Sensibility, the two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, are especially attractive, in part because they are surrounded by insensitive family and friends.  Austen’s wry wit makes every moment […]

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Review: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at WSC Avant Bard

Each year, Shakespeare is the most frequently produced playwright in America, and his A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of the Bard’s most frequently produced plays. So if you’re going to produce it, you’d better have a fresh hook. WSC Avant Bard’s production, directed by Randy Baker, does: Midsummer‘s fairy-filled forest now has shadow puppets: […]

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‘Stage Kiss’ at Round House Theatre (Review #2)

The line between art and life become colorfully blurred when two actors are unexpectedly reunited in Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award nominee Sarah Ruhl’s romantic backstage comedy Stage Kiss, which made its regional opening premiere last night at Bethesda’s Round House Theatre. Set on a transitional, rotating stage (expansively designed by Tony Cisek), a nameless pair of performers, […]

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‘Stage Kiss’ at Round House Theatre

Plays about playmaking have an enduring appeal. Think Noises Off, Six Characters in Search of an Author. Shows about shows on the musical stage have indelible charm. Think Chorus Line, Kiss Me Kate. Metatheatricality can even inspire great moviemaking. Remember how Birdman reinvented cinematic narrative? This sort of stuff is Sarah Ruhl’s forte. Her script […]

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‘Sex with Strangers’ at Signature Theatre

Let’s get this out of the way. Sex with Strangers by Laura Eason (at Signature Theatre) is a slam-dunk champ. It is an easy crowd-pleaser on its polished comic surface, but, oh what a delicious depth it has! While it’s Buzzfeed worthy title may get many into the door, Sex with Strangers is a really […]

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‘Seven Guitars’ at No Rules Theatre Company

Under the affecting direction of Michele Shay, No Rules Theatre Company’s production of August Wilson‘s Seven Guitars raises an intimate, open-eyed  awareness of lives without long-term satisfaction, with too many unfulfilled hopes and dreams, and too loose a hold on the redemption of long-term unconditional love. There is plenty of sharp humor to protect and medicate from the […]

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‘Hamlet’ at Georgetown University by Eliza Anna Falk

To cheer, or not to cheer?  – The question did not even enter my mind at the conclusion of last night’s sold out performance of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet at Georgetown University’s Gonda Theatre.The cheers and the standing ovation were spontaneous, such was the force and brilliance of innovative, multimedia production of the most famous and most performed […]

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Holly Twyford. Photo: Scott Suchman.

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

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 […]

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The cast of 'Our Class': Alexander Strain, Sasha Olinick, Joshua Morgan, Dana Levanovsky, Mark Krawczyk, Heather Haney, Tim Getman, Laura C. Harris, Harlan Work, and Ashley Ivey. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

‘Our Class’ at Theater J by Tzvi Kahn

Our Class, the searing, emotionally devastating, and unforgettable new production at Theater J, constitutes both a play and an enervating pedagogical exercise – a Holocaust-era case study in the moral degeneration of individuals in the context of societal descent into genocide and madness. At first, the story, which chronicles the lives of ten Polish classmates […]

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