The Fittest "Madwoman"

The title of our current series, "Survival of the Fittest," comes from British philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), who applied Darwin's theories to human social relations. According to Spencer, history reveals "a ceaseless devouring of the weak by the strong." He attributed the "poverty of the incapable" & the "starvation of the idle" to "a large, farseeing benevolence."

On Thursday, November 9, Herbert Spencer meets "The Madwoman of Chaillot" (1945). This "masterpiece" (The New Republic), by French playwright Jean Giraudoux, pits the eponymous Countess Aurelia against a cabal of corrupt capitalists determined to exploit Paris's suspected petroleum reserves even if it causes the city's complete destruction. "Madwoman" is "touching and sad" yet "wonderfully funny" (Time), "original, inspired" (New York Times), & "brilliant" (Saturday Review), "a legendary fantasy" (Chicago Tribune) of "vaulting imagination and rare theatrical beauty" (New York Herald-Tribune).

Our November meeting will feature director Jim Petosa, artistic director of Olney Theatre Center, where "The Madwoman of Chaillot" runs through November 12. In 1996 Jim received the Helen Hayes award for directing "Jacques Brel." A member of the Footlights Advisory Board, Jim led our June 2000 discussion of "Collected Stories." He will be making his record 6th appearance at the Footlights.

We will meet at Delray Vietnamese Garden, 4918 Del Ray Ave., a few blocks N of Bethesda metro. Take both up escalators, turn left onto Old Georgetown Rd., walk up to Del Ray Ave. & turn right. The neighborhood has several inexpensive nearby garages & parking lots. Dinner begins at 6:30; our discussion takes place from 7:30-9:30. Make reservations by e-mailing [email protected] or calling 202-638-0444 after October 23. Copies of "Madwoman" await at Backstage Books, 545 8th St., SE, & for a Footlights discount at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW , & Olsson's Books & Records, 1307 19th St., NW.

Go "Madwoman" at Olney

At 2 p.m. Saturday, November 11, Footlights will attend "The Madwoman of Chaillot" at Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd. (MD-108), between Georgia & New Hampshire Avenues in Olney, MD. We'll have maps at our November meeting. Tickets are $19 & include a group discount & a post-performance discussion. We must receive payment by November 1 & cannot issue refunds. After November 1, call the box office (301-924-3400) for regular-priced tickets. Before then, mail your check to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852 (240-669-6300 & [email protected]). Robin will distribute tickets in the lobby just before the performance. Contact Robin for information about carpooling to the theater & dinner after the performance.

Survival at the Summit

On Wednesday, December 20, with winter just hours away, Footlights will struggle to survive ice & snow on top of the world's second tallest mountain in Patrick Meyers's "K2" (1982). Two lifelong friends cling to an icy ledge, keeping alert by sharing stories of their lives. "Fascinating" (New York), "gripping" (Women's Wear Daily), "hair-raising" (Time), "K2" is "quite extraordinary"--"like nothing you have seen before" (New York Post). Our meeting will feature director Wendy Goldberg, artistic associate at Arena Stage, 1101 6th St., SW, where we'll attend "K2" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 2. Tickets are $28 (orchestra) & $24.50 (balcony). Mail your check to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852.


Thursday, November 9, 6:30 p.m.: "The Madwoman of Chaillot," Delray Viet
Saturday, November 11, 2 p.m.: "The Madwoman of Chaillot," Olney Theatre
Wednesday, December 20, 6:30 p.m.: "K2," Luna Books
Tuesday, January 2, 7:30 p.m.: "K2," Arena Stage
Tuesday, January 16, 6:30 p.m.: "Rhinoceros," location TBA
Wednesday, February 21, 6:30 p.m.: TBA