September 2001

"'Art'" Starts "Arts" 

Our rapidly changing times require lifelong learning. To meet the challenge, Footlights returns to college Monday, September 10, with a new series, "Arts and Sciences." We start with "'Art'" (1994), by French playwright Yasmina Reza. "'Art'" depicts the impact on three close friends of a pricey, all-white painting, which one considers his proudest purchase & another calls "shit." What follows is "charming" (Los Angeles Times) & "hilarious" (New Yorker), yet "touching and finally disturbing" (Financial Times). It's "brilliantly simple" (Daily Telegraph), "sneakily profound" (Newsweek), "almost unconsciously enjoyable" (New York Newsday), & "likely to become a minor classic" (The Times (of London)).

Our September meeting will feature director Jim Petosa, artistic director of Olney Theatre Center, where "'Art'" opens October 9. A member of the Footlights Advisory Board, Jim led our November 2000 discussion of "The Madwoman of Chaillot." His production of "Collected Stories"--which we discussed in June 2000--received four Helen Hayes nominations including Outstanding Director & Outstanding Resident Play.

Make reservations by calling 202-638-0444 (24 hours/day) or e-mailing [email protected]. We will meet at Delray Vietnamese Garden, 4918 Del Ray Ave. (301-986-0606). Dinner begins at 6:30; our discussion is 7:30-9:30. From Bethesda metro, take both up escalators, turn left onto Old Georgetown Rd., walk five short blocks to Del Ray Ave. & turn right. Drivers can find inexpensive garages on Cordell Ave. & Old Georgetown Rd. Find "'Art'" 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 & 7647 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda. 

Staged "'Art'"

At 2 p.m. Sunday, October 14, Footlights will absorb "'Art'" at Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd. (MD-108), between Georgia & New Hampshire Avenues in Olney, MD. We'll have detailed directions at our September meeting. Tickets are $19 & 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 & [email protected]). Contact Robin if you need a lift. We'll distribute tickets in the lobby just before the performance. 

More Matter, More Art

An expensive, all-white painting? Check out the Hirshhorn's current exhibit "Clyfford Still: Paintings, 1944-1960," especially "Untitled 1952" & "1950-M No.1." At the National Gallery (east building, concourse level), look for Barnett Newman's "The Name II," Robert Ryman's "Untitled (1965-66)," & "Black Painting No. 34," by Ad Reinhardt.

To fully understand a work of art, must one know something about the artist? In Thomas Gibbons's "Bee-Luther-Hatchee" (1999), an African-American editor publishes a memoir told from the perspective of an old black woman. When the editor realizes her author's true identity, sparks fly. "Bee-Luther-Hatchee" runs September 5-23 at George Mason University in Fairfax. Tickets are $20-$25. Call 703-218-6500 or visit Footlights has a handful of free tickets for the Sunday, September 2 2 p.m. matinee preview. Contact David Sobelsohn at 202-484-8303 or [email protected].

A Second Look

On Monday, October 15, Footlights will launch an occasional series we're calling "Footlights' Second Looks," regularly revisiting playwrights we've discussed once before. To inaugurate this series we'll take a second look both at the question raised by September's play--the nature of art--and at Italian Nobel laureate Luigi Pirandello, whom we first discussed in May 1998. Our play, "Six Characters in Search of an Author" (1921), provoked a riot at its premiere. In "Six Characters," a strange family disrupts a theater rehearsal. They claim to be discarded characters from an abandoned manuscript, and plead with the director to dramatize their tragic story. "Poignant" & "moving" (New Republic), "exciting" (Newsweek) & "audacious" (Wall Street Journal), "Six Characters" is so "frightening" (New York Times) it can "raise hairs on the back of the neck" (Variety). After experiencing Pirandello's "masterpiece" (Washington Post), "our view of the theatre, perhaps even of life itself, is never quite the same again" (Daily Telegraph). Our meeting will feature Kirk Jackson, who teaches theater at Bennington College and recently directed a West Coast production of "Six Characters." We'll start taking reservations for our October meeting at 9:30 p.m. September 10 (call 202-638-0444 or e-mail [email protected]).

Meeting Calendar

Monday, September 10: "'Art,'" Delray Viet Garden
Monday, October 15: "Six Characters," Luna Books
Wednesday, November 14: "Side Man," Caf´┐Ż Midi
Tuesday, December 11: "Shakespeare, Moses, and Joe Papp," Delray Viet Garden
Thursday, January 17: "Amadeus," location TBA
Tuesday, February 19: "Copenhagen," location TBA

all meetings run from 6:30-9:30 p.m.