A Comic Valentine: The Two Gentleman of Verona
Shakespeare’s newest offering, The Two Gentleman of Verona, portrays the tempestuous love affairs and friendships of youth with all of the fun and frolic that only a Shakespeare comedy can bring.
As best friends, Valentine and Proteus value their friendship and would never let a girl come between them; but all that changes when the two friends compete for the affection of Silvia, the Duke of Milan’s daughter. While Proteus and Valentine duke it out for Silvia’s love, Julia, Proteus’ girlfriend, is trying to find out why the love of her life is casting her aside.
“This show is about the dynamics of friendship,” says Adam Green, the Shakespeare Theatre Company artist who plays Speed in this romantic comedy. Speed is Valentine’s bike messenger and provides much of the comic relief for the show. “Speed is the prototypical wise cracking servant” says Green. “He has more of a jaded view about love. As his master falls into love, Speed is put off by it.”
“Audiences will [be reminded of] what it is like to be a teenager in love,” says Green. “The embarrassing and cringe-worthy memories are a part of growing up.”
PJ Paparelli directs and puts his own unique twist on the classic love story. “PJ created a hybrid world for the play. It has Elizabethan and Jacobean overtones but it is very modern. The costumes definitely straddle … the modern and Elizabethan era,” says Green.
Like an Andy Warhol painting, Paparelli uses costumes and set design to reflect the consumerist lifestyle of the show’s young characters. “The set is post-industrial chic. There are huge hints of product placement. There are half of the golden arches and about twelve to thirteen cleverly placed product signs. The goal of this is to show the plugged-in era of the modern teenager. Advertising is so ubiquitous,” says Green.
A New York native, Green has a long resume of both classical and modern theater experience under his belt. In The Two Gentleman of Verona, he shares the stage with four of Shakespeare Theatre Company’s most notable alumni; Nick Dillenburg as Proteus, Miriam Silverman as Julia, Natalie Mitchell as Silvia and Andrew Veenstra as Valentine.
Through March 4 at the Shakespeare’s Lansburgh Theatre: 450 7th St. NW, DC; 202-547-1122; www.shakespearetheatre.org.
Euan Morton as Launce, Oliver the dog as Crab and Adam Green as Speed in the The Two Gentlemen of Verona, directed by PJ Paparelli
Elephant Room at Arena Stage
David Copperfield and Criss Angel have showmanship, grand style and a flair for spectacular magic tricks. Sadly, the three magicians featured in Elephant Room are anything but high caliber. In fact, they are terrible, but their penchant for silly humor and side-show magic creates a hugely entertaining show.
Elephant Room is a satiric spin on the dreadful Vegas lounge acts that dominated so much of the Strip over the last few decades. With bad stand up and transparent magic acts, Vegas had a show for almost every tired and failed sitcom star. Elephant Room capitalizes on this phenomenon with great success.
Written by Steve Cuiffo, Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle, Elephant Room is a very different theater experience. Not weighed down by lofty dialogue or an intricate plot, it is a cross between performance art and a low-rent magic show. And it is one of the funniest shows gracing a DC stage this year.
The show stars professional magicians Louie Magic, Daryl Hannah and Dennis Diamond. The trio spend most of their time on stage riffing on the course of their less than stellar careers while performing sleights of hand. Says Steve Cuiffo, one of the writers of Elephant Room. “This is a form of entertainment. It is not a play but over the course of the evening you will learn a lot about these magicians. “
“DC is well suited for digesting deception so this audience will love Elephant Room,” says Sobelle. “These magicians have different personalities. This show is a really a snapshot of the subculture of magicians. Wear a girdle and a teeth guard.”
Tickets are $40 for general admission.
Through February 26 in the Kogod Cradle at Arena Stage: 1101 Sixth St. SW, DC; 202-488-3300; www.arenastage.org.