Archive for Washington Ensemble Theatre

The Mistakes Madeline Made is a Must-See – now through March 16

Posted in acting, Theatre Reviews with tags , , , , , on February 28, 2009 by Tom McIntire

Because of my experiences with their previous productions, I went in with high expectations for the latest Washington Ensemble Theatre production, The Mistakes Madeline Made. I was not disappointed. Written by Elizabeth Meriwether, with inspired direction by Michael Place, Madeline is heartbreakingly funny and brutally clear-eyed in its depiction of grief, survivor’s guilt and redemption.

A talented cast brings the piece to life on a deceptively simple set designed by Tommer Peterson and lit by Andrew D. Smith. Ray Tagavilla’s Wilson is extraordinary – bringing the energy of Jim Carrey with a charmingly balanced and measured  sensitivity. Elise Hunt’s fierce performance as Edna is winning and touching and heartfelt, perfectly played against with the gifted Mary Bliss Mather‘s  cold surface tension that belies the repressed boiling passions and resentments. With the truthful discomfort that both versions of the television series The Office churn up in me, Mary Bliss gives us the sense that she almost believes all the drivel about duty and doing a good job for the family that spews out of her mouth. Almost. Taylor Maxwell brings fine dramatic support as Buddy and Noah Benezra delivers strong comic energy in his multiple roles.

Tickets are available thought  Go buy some.


God’s Ear at Washington Ensemble Theatre

Posted in Theatre Reviews with tags , , , , , on October 15, 2008 by Tom McIntire

Washington Ensemble Theatre is a theatre-lover’s WET dream. Sorry. I couldn’t resist.  God’s Ear spins Albee-esque words upon words in a dizzying outward spiral of immense sorrow and dark humor.

Michael Place and Mary Bliss Mathers play grieving parents desperately looking for someone to blame for the death of their son. Their performances shine and sizzle and move as their words seek new targets and avoid old and new hurts. Mikano Fukaya plays their joyful and wise surviving child with a bittersweet abandon and razor-sharp focus. Her wide eyes see everything.

The supporting cast fills out the piece with dark comedy and seductive ramblings. Sophisticated lighting and set design beautifully set the mood and at times become players themselves.

God’s Ear
By Jenny Schwartz
Directed by Roger Benington
Oct. 10-Nov. 10, 2008: Thursday-Monday at 8pm
Washington Ensemble Theatre