from the Footlights


September 2006                           “Life shouldn’t be all work and no plays.”     

Girl in the Goldfish Bowl

Footlights opens its 2006-2007 monthly theater-discussion season on Tuesday, September 19 with Canadian playwright Morris Panych’s Girl In The Goldfish Bowl. Goldfish Bowl is winner of the 2004 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama (Canada’s highest literary award). A rich and poignant comedy, Panych masterfully crafts a wildly hilarious and deeply affecting tale about the death of childhood, innocence and fish . . . Metaphorical, imaginative, profoundly complex.” (Canadian Governor General’s jury). Panych’s “writing is a sort of libretto for creative acting, design, imaginative light and sound patterns, and as such is in tune with the visual and aural passions of our multimedia age.” (Dr. Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz) “Capricious and poignant, Girl In The Gold Fish Bowl is an invitation to your last moment of childhood and creates a wealth of discussion about the day you began looking at the world with new eyes.” (Steven Berketo, Vancouver reviewer)

Iris, the precocious 10-year old viewing her family through the trauma of her goldfish’s demise, is saying farewell to childhood. It’s 1962 and outside the goldfish bowl the world is going through its own loss of innocence as it transitions from the afterglow of post-WWII to the uncertainties of the Cuban missile crisis, Vatican II, and such social changes as the civil rights and women’s movements. Iris finds a mysterious stranger on the beach who (if she can teach him how to be human) offers her some hope that all can be made right. Iris is trying to keep her family together while struggling with not being heard by the household of adults who themselves are struggling with the anxieties of living in politically tense times. “Iris is like children everywhere: they’re the ones who speak the truth in the room that no else wants to acknowledge. She speaks with kid-like graces.” (Michael Evans).

On Tuesday, September 19, at 6:30 p.m., Footlights will discuss Goldfish Bowl as well as the contributions to modern theatre of our northern neighbor, Canada. Our guest speakers will be Carolyn Griffin, MetroStage Artistic Director, and Gregg Henry, director of the U.S. premiere of Goldfish Bowl at MetroStage. Beatrice Rouse will moderate our discussion. For a copy of the play, make out your check ASAP for $14 to Beatrice Rouse, PO Box 5443, Rockville, MD 20848. Please include your mailing address.


We meet at Alfio’s, in the Willoughby Apartments, 4515 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase, MD (301-657-9133), two blocks from the Friendship Heights Metro. $12 includes dinner and tip. Dinner is at 6:30; the discussion begins at 7:30. You may come for the discussion alone; we will have extra chairs. Make reservations with Mark Gruenberg, 202-898-4825 or (Note: If later you need to cancel, be sure to let Mark know.)


We will see Girl in the Goldfish Bowl on Sunday, September 24, 3 p.m. at MetroStage, 1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria, VA (703-548-9044). Tickets are $30. Send your check, payable to Footlights, to Robin Larkin (240-669-6300 or, 5403 Nibud Ct, Rockville, MD 20852. Payment must be made by September 19, the date of our dinner-discussion.


Special Event!


WOYZECK: The Business Side Of Theater


Throughout our decade at Footlights, we’ve discussed the artistic and philosophical side of theater: the plays, their themes, the acting, the concepts and the intellectual points that each playwright wants to get across. Our Wednesday, October 11 session at Alfio’s will be different. That’s because, for the first time, we’ll discuss the business side of theater, more than the artistic side. The play, Woyzeck, was produced at the small 70-seat Gate Theatre situated above a pub in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood. Now the Gate’s Woyzeck is making the jump to the Big Apple. It is coming in mid-November to St. Anne’s Warehouse Theatre, a 300-seat house on the Brooklyn waterfront at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge.


The Gate’s production of Woyzeck is the latest reincarnation of a seminal 19th-century edgy play about the military, and about social class, that raises many questions. Because author Georg Buchner left it in fragments, directors get an unusual opportunity to manipulate the production. In New York, Daniel Kramer, who won an outstanding young director’s award in Britain, will direct Woyzeck. Differing interpretations of Woyzeck have appeared: in this production, in another in Great Britain, in the opera and in a Werner Herzog film.


But how do you get from there to here, artistically and—more interestingly—financially? Answering those questions will be our guest, co-producer Kay Ellen Consolver. Founder of KLN Productions Ltd., she is known to Washington theater-goers as a member of the Studio Theater board and a backer of Studio’s production of Guantanamo. Her firm is also heavily involved in productions both in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.


To attend this October 11 discussion of theater behind the scenes, make your reservations with Mark Gruenberg at or 202-898-4825. Dinner starts at 6:30 pm and discussion begins at 7:30, at Alfio’s.


Next Play for Discussion: Equus


On Thursday, November 2, at Casa Fiesta, 4910 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC (202-244-8888), we will discuss Equus, Peter Shaffer’s 1974 Tony award winning play. Equus focuses on the causes underlying a seemingly senseless act of violence by an adolescent boy, an act that forces the characters to confront questions of responsibility and ultimate meaning. Our speakers will be Footlights’ Advisory Board members Lee Mikeska Gardner, who will be directing Equus for Washington Shakespeare Theatre and Christopher Henley, Artistic Director of WSC. We will see Equus on Sunday, November 5, 2 p.m. at the Clark St. Playhouse, 601 S. Clark St., Crystal City (Arlington), VA (703-418-4808). Tickets are $15.




     Tuesday, September 19, 6:30 p.m., dinner-discussion of Girl in the Goldfish Bowl at Alfio’s, 4515 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase, MD (301-657-9133). Dinner: $12, includes tax and tip. Suggested contribution to Footlights: $5.


     Sunday, September 24, 3 p.m., performance of Girl in the Goldfish Bowl at MetroStage, 1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria, VA (703-548-9044). Tickets: $30.


     Wednesday, October 11, 6:30 p.m., dinner-discussion of Woyzeck: The Business Side of Theatre at Alfio’s.


     Thursday, November 2, 6:30 p.m., dinner-discussion of Equus at Casa Fiesta, 4910 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC (202-244-8888). Dinner: $14, includes tax and tip. Suggested contribution to Footlights: $5.


     Sunday, November 5, 2 p.m., performance of Equus at Washington Shakespeare Company, Clark St. Playhouse, 601 S. Clark St., Crystal City (Arlington), VA (703-418-4808). Tickets: $15.


Dinner-discussion reservations: Mark Gruenberg, 202-898-4825 or


Theater tickets: Robin Larkin, 240-669-6300 or Make check payable to Footlights. Send to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct, Rockville, MD 20852.