What We’re Up Against is the kind of zoomed-in, focused work that Keegan has always thrived on. It’s a show that proves that a theater does not have to lose its heart as it expands. The renovations have given them access to more space and resources without losing it’s audience-focused intimacy.
Theresa Rebeck’s salty office comedy “What We’re Up Against” is a swift and merrily vicious kick in the pants. It’s a fast satire about a talented woman and the dull, bigoted men who rule her workplace …. Rebeck’s wrathful, foulmouthed script keeps the energy high, and at the small Keegan Theatre (which has the D.C. premiere of this 2011 play), director Susan Marie Rhea creates a bright, brisk production that nails the play’s most pivotal moments.
Near the end of What We’re Up Against, Theresa Rebeck’s incisive comedy about workplace sexism—just opened in a kick-ass production at The Keegan Theatre—a question is posed by Eliza, a very talented architect whom we’ve been watching be screwed by prick power in the office: “They said it wasn’t like this anymore. Why is it still like this?” That sobering question comes after scenes full of some of the funniest, sharpest-edge scripting, directing, and acting you’re likely to see in DC.
If there ever was a show that captured the edginess of this election season, it’s Theresa Rebeck’s howler of a comedy, What We’re Up Against. In Susan Marie Rhea’s brilliant staging, Rebeck’s whip-smart sense of humor is on full display. And given the battle-of-the-sexes plotline, it is without question the one show that Hilary Clinton and her staff need to see-they’ll know every character on-stage. They’ll also recognize the futility of a highly-qualified woman forced to struggle against male mediocrity.
The struggle continues, but this one is a classic.
September 2, 2016: The Keegan Theatre opens its 20th season with the regional premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s What We’re Up Against, a scathing, ferocious comedy about sexism in the workplace. Set in a highly competitive architecture firm, What We’re Up Against takes an explosive look at the complicated battle of the sexes and one woman’s response when she tires of slamming into the glass ceiling.
McDonagh scripts their savage and macabre verbal sparring. Director Mark A. Rhea paces each round with knockout punch. Keenan and Smith play high-risk foils as if on a high-tension high wire. And Casey Kaleba tightly stages each fight with a startling mix of hostility and silliness … The Lonesome West is a fantastic ride.