October 2001

"Revolutionary" Art 

On Monday, October 15, our series "Arts and Sciences" continues with what London's Daily Telegraph called a "revolutionary masterpiece" that "explores the experience of art itself": "Six Characters in Search of an Author" (1921), by Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello. As "Six Characters" begins, a strange family interrupts a theater rehearsal. They claim to be discarded characters from an abandoned manuscript, and plead with the director to dramatize their unfinished saga of estrangement, incest, and death. The 1921 premiere of "Six Characters" sparked a riot, splitting the audience into factions for and against Pirandello. "Haunting" (New York Post), "fascinating" (Time Magazine), "overpowering" and "profound" (New Republic), "Six Characters in Search of an Author" is "devastating" yet "very funny" (New York Times), and "quite entertaining" (New York Daily News). It remains "shockingly brilliant" (Sunday Times (London)), a true "classic" by "Italy's greatest modern playwright" (Newsweek).  

Our discussion will feature actor, director, and Bennington College professor Kirk Jackson. Jackson apprenticed under John Houseman at the Acting Company and later graduated from the Yale School of Drama. He appeared both on Broadway and at DC's own Studio Theatre in Terrence McNally's "Love! Valour! Compassion!" (1994), which we attended in May 1997.  In 2000 Jackson directed a celebrated Washington Shakespeare Co. production of Eugene O'Neill's "Strange Interlude" (1928). He has taught Pirandello at Princeton, and earlier this year directed a West Coast production of "Six Characters in Search of an Author."

We have a full house. To get on the waiting list for reservations contact Mark Gruenberg any time, day or night, at 202-638-0444 or [email protected]. We'll meet at Luna Books, 1633 P St., NW (third floor) (202-332-2543), three blocks east of Dupont Circle. Dinner begins at 6:30 and our discussion at 7:30; our meeting ends at 9:30. Search for "Six Characters" at Backstage Books, 545 8th St., SE (202-544-5744), and for a special Footlights discount at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW (202-364-1919), and Olsson's Books & Records, 1307 19th St., NW (202-785-1133), and 7647 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda (301-652-6399).  Any translation will do; the Dover $1.50 edition is cheap (although not necessarily the best).

"'Art'" Tix

We still have a few tickets left for the Sunday, October 14, 2 p.m.,  performance of our September play, Yasmina Reza's "'Art'" (1994) at Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd. (MD-108). Tickets are $19 and include a post-show discussion. We must receive payment by October 1, also the refund deadline. Mail your check to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852 (240-669-6300). Contact Robin for directions or to arrange a ride to the theater. We'll distribute tickets in the lobby just before the performance. 

The "Absorbing" Side of Art

On Wednesday, November 14, our study of art gets musical when we discuss Warren Leight's Tony award-winning play "Side Man" (1998). This semi autobiographical work tells the story of a son and his jazzman father, whose passion for music comes at a terrible price to his family. With "crisp dialogue and clearly drawn characters" (Variety), Side Man is "totally absorbing" (New York Post)- "heart wrenching" (New Yorker) and "enormously moving" (New York Times), yet "hilarious" (Newsday), with "moments of pure joy" (New York Daily News). Our meeting will feature director Grover Gardner, whose production of "Side Man" we'll attend at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 2 at Everyman Theatre, 1727 N. Charles St. in Baltimore. Tickets are $16 and include a post-show cast discussion. Mail your check to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Court, Rockville, MD 20852. It's never too early to get tickets; many performances are already sold out.

FOOTLIGHTS Meeting Calendar:

Monday, October 15: "Six Characters in Search of An Author," Luna Books
Wednesday, November 14: "Side Man," Caf´┐Ż Midi Cuisine
Tuesday, December 11: "Shakespeare, Moses, and Joe Papp," Delray Vietnamese Garden
Thursday, January 17: "Amadeus," location TBA
Tuesday, February 19: "Copenhagen," location TBA

All Footlights meetings run from 7:30-9:30 p.m., with dinner from