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FROM THE FOOTLIGHTS
September 2003

How Was the Play?

The critic leaves at curtain fall
To find, in starting to review it,
He scarcely saw the play at all
For watching his reaction to it.

— E. B. White

Footlights kicks off the new theater year with something new. We will examine the role of one of theater’s often least-noticed but most important people: the critic. To help us figure out how a critic works, how he or she meets deadlines, what critics look for and what influences which plays they cover Mike Giuliano, Baltimore-Washington theater critic for Variety, the show business newspaper, a professor at Howard Community College and an active member of its performing arts company, will join us on Thursday, September 25. Among the questions Footlighters may have are: how critics do their job, what do they believe is their job, what have been the reactions of the public to their reviews, how do they handle the heavy responsibility of making or breaking a show if they believe they have that kind of power, and how do theater companies react to their work.

Our dinner-discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.; the meeting starts at 7:30. We will meet at a new location: Casa Fiesta, 4910 Wisconsin Ave., NW (202-244-8888). Casa Fiesta is one block south of Fessenden St. on Wisconsin Ave. and two and a half blocks south of the Jenifer St. exit (elevators only) from the Friendship Heights Metro stop. To make reservations call or e-mail Mark Gruenberg at 202-898-4825 or gruenberg@footlightsdc.org.

Proof in October

On Tuesday, October 21, we will discuss a play dealing only with love, trust, personal integrity and mathematical genius. Proof, by University of Chicago alumnus, David Auburn, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2001. Proof tells the story of a young woman who has spent her youth caring for her brilliant mathematician father as he became mentally ill. After his death, she sits alone on her 25th birthday wondering whether she has inherited his madness or genius or both.

Proof has consistently received rave reviews for the craftsmanship of its writing (Manchester Guardian, "This is an excellent play, structured with algebraic precision. . . ."); for the compelling subject matter (San Francisco Chronicle, "It charms you with the complex interplay of a father and daughter, hooks you on a mystery about a mathematical proof and leads on to the fathomless riddles of family, love, a parent’s decline and a damaged child’s staggering lurch toward freedom. . .); as well as for it’s human
and emotional dimension (Houston Chronicle, "The miracle of Proof is that it so perfectly captures the essence of human individuality and inspiration.). To lead us through Proof’s equations, we will have a repeat visit from the director of Arena Stage’s coming production of Proof, Wendy C. Goldberg, Artistic Associate.

Our October dinner-discussion of Proof will be held at Luna Books, 1633 P St., NW (third floor) (202-332-2543), three blocks east of Dupont Circle. Reservations may be made immediately after the September meeting. Call Mark Gruenberg, 202-898-4825 (any time, day or night) or e-mail gruenberg@footlightsdc.org.

Footlights will find Proof on Thursday, October 30 at 8 p.m. in Arena Stage’s Kreeger Theater. Excellent orchestra or dress circle tickets are available at a discount price of $35 per ticket and include a cast post-show discussion. Send your check, payable to Footlights, to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852. To join Footlights for this performance, your check must arrive no later than Wednesday, October 15. We will distribute tickets at the theater just before the performance. Call or e-mail Robin for information and reservations, 240-669-6300 or rlarkin@footlightsdc.org.

And coming up . . . . .

George Bernard Shaw is the topic for our Wednesday, November 19 dinner-discussion, in particular Heartbreak House. It is one of the master’s lesser known plays, which is an important reason for us to talk about it and see it. Once again, we welcome Round House Theatre’s Nick Olcott, who is directing their production of Heartbreak House.

We’ll see Shaw’s Heartbreak House, with many Washington favorites, especially Emery Battis as Capt. Shotover on Sunday, November 30 at 3 p.m. at the Round House Theatre Bethesda location. Tickets are $30. Send your check, payable to Footlights, to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852. Call or e-mail Robin for information and reservations, 240-669-6300 or rlarkin@footlightsdc.org.

More Information

Subscribe to our on-line list & receive our free monthly e-letter by sending any message to join@footlightsdc.org. You can see back issues of our e-letter on our website, www.footlightsdc.org. Help ensure Footlights' future, and become an active Footlights member, by sending your tax-deductible contribution (any amount) to John Glynn, 3741 Yorktown Village Pass, Annandale, VA 22003.

Calendar:

Dinner-Discussion

Play

Performance

Thursday, September 25, 6:30 p.m.
Casa Fiesta

Discussion Topic: The Role of the Critic

Tuesday, October 21, 6:30 p.m.
Luna Books

Proof

Thursday, October 30, 8 p.m.
Arena Stage

Wednesday, November 19, 6:30 p.m.
Location tba

Heartbreak House

Sunday, November 30, 3 p.m.
Round House Theatre