Photo: Ford's Theatre
Photo: Ford's Theatre

Stage And Screen: December 2017


The Ugly One
Can you imagine never gawking at yourself in the mirror? Or the amount of effort friends and loved ones would have to go through to keep you away from one? Not to mention the plethora of reflections you’d have to avoid to amass any real amount of time without seeing and thinking, “Oh hey, that’s what I look like – neat.” Well apparently, the character Lette in this Marius von Mayenburg satire has just discovered that he is, in fact, ugly. Instead of coping with this truth after years and years of pondering how he’s never noticed before, he’s decided to simply hit up a plastic surgeon to create a new face. Not only does it work, but he’s now the most attractive man in the room, and though we don’t know what competition he’s up against, we want to see what’s next for this man who apparently enjoyed life free of all vanity before his transformation. Various times and dates. Tickets $30. CAOS on F: 923 F St. NW, DC;

THROUGH December 23

Hansel & Gretel
“Silence is a virtue.”  This saying was coined by Benjamin Franklin when he was deciphering what and what did not add up to a virtuous life. Oh, would the gentleman on the $100 be upset with today’s society, as most people would likely carry around megaphones if it wasn’t an arduous task. What does this have to do with Synetic Theater’s Hansel & Gretel? Well, this play is one of the numerous “wordless” productions the theater features each year. For a story with universal themes like exploration and imagination, Hansel & Gretel is an interesting tale to convey without the help of pithy dialogue between the siblings who find themselves in a wondrous new world.; I’m not sure how they’ll yell “Help” in this rendition. Various times and ticket prices. Synetic Theater: 1800 South Bell St. Arlington, VA;


Nina Simone: Four Women
This play is the adaptation of a song by legendary singer Nina Simone. The song, titled “Four Women,” explores four separate characters representing different perspectives of African American women. The song was written in 1966 for the album Wild is the Wind, and tackles the plights of women representing African American enslavement, biracial inequality, sexual abuse and generational oppression. Though the song features what is essentially short poems in succession, the play deals with each as fully developed characters, including Simone, who represents the fourth and final woman. Christina Ham’s adaptation also ties the song to the 16th St. Baptist Church bombing, which took place in 1963, and resulted in the deaths of four young girls. With songs and storytelling, this play illustrates the messages still very much alive in Simone’s music, and largely in society itself. Various times and dates. Tickets $71-$111. Arena Stage: 1101 6th St. SW, DC;


A Christmas Carol
Seriously? Do you really not know the plot of old man Ebenezer Scrooge drinking too much eggnog before falling into a crazy rem sleep that triggers hallucinations in the form of ghosts repping the past, present and future? No. You definitely do; you do because Charles Dickens’ novella has undergone countless adaptations. My personal favorite was Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, where Matt McConaughey plays a notorious a–hole who can’t figure out how to not be a terrible boyfriend, and that’s where the ghosts come in. All jokes about the age-old tale aside, there’s a reason the iconic story has stood the tests of time. If you’re into nostalgia, forgot the plot or simply – and I won’t believe you – have never seen it, there’s no better theater to catch this play than Ford’s. Various times and dates. Tickets $32-$105. Ford’s Theatre: 511 10th St. NW, DC;


Draw the Circle
As part of its ongoing series “Transformational Journeys: Inspired Singular Explorations,” Mosaic Theater presents Mashuq Mushtaq Deen’s true story Draw the Circle. The story focuses on his gender transition, and the reactions from his conservative Muslim family. Instead of this performance being from his point of view, Deen’s story is told from the perspectives of his respective family members, uncovering their concerns with the unknown and unconditional love throughout the process. Various times and dates. Tickets $20-$65. Atlas Performing Arts Center: 1333 H St. NE, DC;


The SantaLand Diaries
Luckily for me, I have not had to swallow my pride and don a skin tight green suit to make some extra change for the holidays. However, the same cannot be said for writer David Sedaris, who picks up the moniker Crumpet the Elf while dressed like Will Farrell from Elf at a Macy’s department store gig. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, and offering empty smiles to passersby in search of the latest and greatest hunk of overpriced plastic, Crumpet offered up details behind the scenes at Santa’s workshop. Presumably E!’s True Hollywood Stories passed on this potential documentary because, spoiler alert, Santa is a fictional character, but we still get a chance to hear the goods at Drafthouse Comedy in the form of this adult holiday production based on Sedaris’ experience. Various dates and times. Tickets $20. Drafthouse Comedy: 1100 13th St. NW, DC;


Dissonance Dance Theatre
A performance inspired by the ancient Silk Road should represent a massive exchange of ideas. The ancient route, connecting Asia and Europe from 120 BCE to the 1450s, represents the ultimate example in history where cultural ideas and products were swapped for one another. In the case of Dissonance Dance Theatre, artistic director Shawn Short has fused sounds and movements from the East and West to concoct an amalgamation of art that features music from Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble to modern-day super producer Timbaland. Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m. Tickets $15-$30. Dance Place: 3225 8th St. NE, DC;


An American in Paris
Adapted from the Academy Award-winning film of the same name, this Tony Award-winning musical is making its way to DC. Yes, the setting is Paris, and the story does involve an American, who happens to be a soldier yearning for a new beginning after experiencing the atrocities of war. He stumbles upon a mysterious French girl, and the two begin a journey together, set to classic songs from George and Ira Gershwin. Don’t miss this romantic production from 2015 Tony Award-winning director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. Various times and dates. Tickets $59-$129. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC;