Director Brandon McCoy’s artsy production (modern painting, white panels, silhouettes) is reasonably stylish, and the listening is acute as Paul beguiles the rich people he wants to belong with. Ryan Swain is a smooth talker as the elusive Paul, and the connection with Susan Marie Rhea’s anguished Ouisa sends you out of the theater properly unsettled about the separation Guare so adroitly maps.
John Guare’s play is a work that defies expectations at every turn, keeping us guessing until the very end. The Keegan Theatre’s production will make audiences laugh and break their hearts all at once, leaving us hoping that we lead better lives than the ones we see portrayed here.
The transcendent vision of playwright John Guare has been replicated to perfection by Director Brandon McCoy and his cast. Do not miss Keegan Theatre’s exquisitely–mounted production of Six Degrees of Separation!
Tucked away on a quiet street in Dupont Circle, Washington’s Keegan Theatre is easy to miss. Keegan produces classic and contemporary plays and musicals that, in the company’s own words, “put people out there on the stark edges of life”—works, in short, that “explore the human condition.” Keegan manages to offer tickets at affordable prices while creating productions on a par with any in the city. In spite of its low profile. Keegan has been producing quality work for decades, as well as touring work around Ireland and hosting Irish companies. And Keegan has not played it safe. The theatre has been making bold choices, producing dozens of world, American, and DC-area premieres. Keegan recently opened its twentieth season with a delightful production of a play that hits close to home in Washington these days, staging the regional premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s What We’re Up Against.
In addition to a successful Broadway run, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated play was adapted into a 1993 film starring Will Smith, Stockard Channing and Donald Sutherland. Winner of the 1993 Olivier Award for Best Play and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award.
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.