DC Metro Theatre Arts: American Idiot

The Keegan Theatre’s American Idiot speaks to collective genius.

Hardly a no-brainer to mount this explosive, war-weary work, weaned in the Bush II era, at the height of today’s media-hijacked, cock-eyed presidential campaign. (Careful, now, no name-calling or naming names. Hand gestures should suffice.)

Hasani Allen, Harrison Smith, and Josh Sticklin and cast members. Photo by Cameron Whitman.

But the payload of mixing Ritalin-wracked choreography, transcendent stagecraft and megaphonic riffs on arrested suburban development? Effing inspired.

Keegan’s production ekes out story from every angle, starting with Set Designer Matthew Keenan’s heartrending construction … chaotic projections by Patrick Lord shock and rock us, a jumble of video and audio clips never fully realized, all climaxing into a deconstructed view of Americana when the twin towers topple. … Lighting Designer Allan Sean Weeks filters flesh, bone and blood through a breathtaking array.  He paints such memorable images: an IED eruption, the scrap heap of a drug den, a signature Ground Zero tribute. Brilliant.

Directors Rhea are like the wizard engineers in the control room, keeping all elements in balance. Not the least of which: a peerless ensemble of vocal artists … this heroic ensemble is top-notch.