Amid the cacti and tennis courts, betrayal lies in wait. The comfortably arid retirement of Lyman and Polly Wyeth – impeccably groomed survivors of Old Hollywood and California Republican politics – is hijacked one Christmas Eve by a daughter with festering emotional scars, substance-abuse issues and the galleys of a memoir threatening to open to public scrutiny the Wyeths’ painful, shocking secret.
Sounds kind of juicy, no? Not many plays these days unfold as temptingly as does Jon Robin Baitz’s cunningly compassionate “Other Desert Cities,” mounted with exemplary style and devastating impact at Arena Stage by director Kyle Donnelly. Nor do many works by modern playwrights parcel out the payoff with the hypersensitive antennae for poignant family dynamics that Baitz displays on this occasion.… Read more
Helen Carey, Larry Bryggman
and Emily Donahoe in Other Desert Cities.
Photo by Scott Suchman.
“Present Tense” begins with a heartbeat. Six teenagers, all of whom have experienced a death in the family, create what the Arena Stage Voices of Now program calls “a group breathing tableau.”
Imagine what your body would do if you exaggerated how it felt to breathe. Inhale: bend down, shoulders hunched, arms in. Exhale: press shoulder blades together, arms out wide. In, out, in, out.
Each of the artists walks, one by one, to the center of a rehearsal room at Arena. They crouch over one another, building a bigger pile of people, and breathe in and out in unison. One organism… Read more
From left are Taylor Herndon,
Jessye Jairrels, Alexis Von Utter (on top), Ashley Gaddis and Ben Green.
Photo by Katherine Frey.
With such a patently glorious roll call, One Night With Janis Joplin certainly has the entertainment quotient stacked in its favor. And to a surprising level, this concert-as-theater, written and directed by Randy Johnson, achieves the exhilarating effect it desires. It's a portrait, more than anything else, of a romance: a singer in love with the cleansing embrace of the crowd.… Read more
The cast of One Night with Janis Joplin. Photo by Paul Mangano.
Arena Stage plans
ambitious season full of big namesFebruary 25, 2013
How's this for casting coups? Kathleen Turner as Mother Courage! The earthy Turner must have had a blast at Arena Stage last summer playing the tart-tongued liberal columnist Molly Ivins, because she's coming back to Arena next January, as the pragmatic camp follower of Bertolt Brecht's anti-war epic, Mother Courage and Her Children… Read more
Behind the Scenes at Arena Stage
For a glimpse behind the scenes at Arena Stage, make sure to check out our blog–Stage Banter! Written and curated by Arena Stage artists, Stage Banter is a one stop destination for interesting tidbits. From in-depth articles about upcoming productions to one-on-one interviews, Stage Banter has it all. For updates from the American Voices New Play Institute check out the New Play Blog.