FROM THE FOOTLIGHTS - September 1999

RU red E4 "R.U.R."?

On Monday, September 13, Footlights greets the new millennium with a new series, "Time and Memory: Looking Forward, Looking Back." The future begins with a farcical fantasy about rebellious robots, "R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)" (1921), by Czech playwright Karel Capek. The first work of art to portray mass-produced robots, "R.U.R." spawned a whole genre of literature and film. When "R.U.R." opened on Broadway the New York Times found it "provocative," "radical and subversive," even "nihilistic." Robert Benchley (in Life magazine) called it "excellent" & "true," its climax "devastating." For the New York Herald, "R.U.R."  combined "hair-raising thriller" with "murderous social satire." "No other play on modern technology has so captured the public's imagination"  (W.E. Harkins, Karel Capek (1962)).

Our meeting will feature director John Spitzer, founder of Fraudulent Productions, which opens "R.U.R." on September 2. The Washington Post has called FraudProd "Washington's most serious avant-gardists," who bring a "vaudevillian anarchy" to "strikingly imaginative" productions. John's recent FraudProd projects include the Helen Hayes-nominated "Fall of the House of Usher." John is also an actor and playwright, & his 1980 adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" has been produced nationwide.

We will meet in September at Luna Books, 1633 P St., NW (3 blocks E of Dupont Circle). Dinner begins at 6:30 & our discussion at 7:30. Make reservations by calling Mark Gruenberg (202-638-0444) or e-mailing [email protected]. You can purchase "R.U.R." at Backstage Books, 2101 P St., NW (Samuel French ed.) & at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW (Oxford Univ. Press ed.)--both for a special Footlights discount--& also at Barnes & Noble Georgetown, 3040 M St., NW (Oxford Univ. Press ed.).

"R.U.R." at DCAC

At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, September 25, Footlights will attend "R.U.R." at the DC Arts Center, 2438 18th St., NW, in the heart of Adams-Morgan (Woodley Park metro). Tickets are $13. Mail your check, payable to Footlights, by September 13 to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852 (240-669-6300 & [email protected]). September 13 is also the refund deadline. We'll hand out tickets in the lobby just before curtain. At 5:30 that evening, join us for dinner at Star of Siam, 2446 18th St., NW (ask for the Footlights table). 

More Future Ahead

On Tuesday, October 19 Footlights continues "Looking Forward" with "The Adding Machine" (1923), by American playwright Elmer Rice. A "beautiful piece of writing" (London Spectator), "weirdly effective and gripping"  (New York Times), "The Adding Machine" shows the victimization, by advancing technology, of a bigoted, self-centered, fully American antihero. Our meeting will feature director Ben Fishman of Washington Jewish Theatre, whose production of "The Adding Machine" we'll attend at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, 6125 Montrose Rd., Rockville (White Flint metro), at 2 p.m. Sunday, October 24. Tickets are $18. Mail your check, payable to Footlights, to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852.

"Mecca" Too

Footlights takes "The Road to Mecca" Sunday, August 29, 2 p.m., at Olney Theatre, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd. (MD-108) in Olney, MD. We have no more group tickets & can no longer issue refunds. But you can get regular-priced tickets by calling the box office (301-924-3400). For carpooling or to sell your ticket, e-mail [email protected]. To reserve a place with us for dinner after the performance, call Mary Jean Schmelzer at 703-524-7621 or e-mail [email protected].

And the Envelope, Please . . .

Congratulations to our own Roy Berkowitz! Two of Roy's plays won major awards at the recent Washington Theatre Festival: "Girls' Night Out"  received the H.D. Lewis Award for New Play Development, and "Goin' Under"--written for and starring our own Debbie Jackson--won the festival's ten-minute play competition.


Sunday, August 29: "The Road to Mecca," Olney Theatre
Monday, September 13: "R.U.R.," Luna Books
Saturday, September 25: "R.U.R.," DC Arts Center
Tuesday, October 19: "The Adding Machine," Delray Vietnamese Garden
Sunday, October 24: "The Adding Machine," Jewish Community Center
Wednesday, November 17: "Communicating Doors," Delray Viet Garden
Sunday, November 21: "Communicating Doors," Round House Theatre
Thursday, December 16: "On the Verge," Luna Books

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