Monday, March 19, 2012

Eugene O'Neill Festival: Ah, Wilderness! at Arena Stage

Illustration by Rob Carter

I am happy to have seen Ah, Wilderness! in the Fichandler theater at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater.

While I have taught some plays in introduction to literature classes, I've sadly seen few of them. Like a poetry or fiction reading, the energy in a room and the actors' interpretations in live performance offer the viewer additional layers of understanding. This theater, which was in-the-round, gives theatergoers the chance not only to see the play, but also to see the audience's reactions. Especially for someone who spends most of her days working alone on a laptop, it is meaningful to be a part of a group experience in that way.

If you visit this theater, don't miss the chance to walk along the waterfront, one block away, and see the view from the cafe's upper level catwalk.

More on the play and festival itself:
From the great American playwright O’Neill, who is better known for his darker stories, comes a joyous and truthful depiction of American family life at the turn of the 20th century. Return to an idyllic age of Americana in Eugene O’Neill’s unabashedly romantic and sweetly funny Ah, Wilderness! As the Connecticut-based Miller clan plans their traditional Fourth of July festivities, their dreamy-eyed middle child, Richard, is wrestling with cultural conventions, political uncertainty, the power of literature and the exquisite pain of love. The memories of family life were never so delicately portrayed as in O’Neill’s only comedy. This play is coming-of-age love letter to a simpler time.

Ah, Wilderness! is produced as part of the Eugene O’Neill Festival at Arena Stage, a two-month citywide examination of the life and work of American playwright Eugene O’Neill. Featuring partnerships with education and arts organizations in the area, the festival runs March 9-May 6, 2012, and features three full-length productions and more than 20 readings, workshops, radio plays, lectures, panels, presentations and art exhibits. For more on the festival, read Sub/Text.

Ah, Wilderness! runs March 9-April 8
Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater 
1101 6th St. SW
Washington, D.C. 20024

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