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Center Stage: ‘Or’ qualifies as a quality restoration event

OR 5Now playing at Round House Theatre, the role-switching play “Or,” features Erin Weaver, Holly Twyford, and Gregory Linington. COURTESY PHOTO  BETHESDA — “Or,” a suffix of binary implications barely qualifies as a phrase. Yet the new play at the Round House Theatre about playwright and former spy Aphra Behn takes the meaning of this word to its full extent.

“Or,” written by Liz Duffy Adams takes place in Restoration Era England when Behn, played by Holly Twyford, abandons her espionage career to become a writer under the new government of Charles II.

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Center Stage: Merging Celtic tradition and folk rock

Jennifer Cutting’s uplifting OCEAN brings with it a touch of The Beatles too

ocean-promo-1Jennifer Cutting (far right) with the OCEAN Orchestra. COURTESY PHOTO

NORTH BETHESDA — Celtic tradition and high-spirited folk rock came together when Jennifer Cutting’s OCEAN orchestra performed its new “Waves” album at Strathmore’s AMP on March 31.
OCEAN, described as “Celtic music for ancient moderns,” is grounded in the Celtic tradition while mixing in genres like Beatles-style pop, Southern rock and even Bollywood in the “Waves” album.
Some of the songs in “Waves” come from the start of Cuttings’ music career 23 years ago, which makes it the culmination of “many, many years of work.” The orchestra has created a long and loyal following, many of whom were present at the “Waves” debut.

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Center Stage: Bill Viola’s art slows time to create mindful contemplation

Bill Violas The Fall into ParadisePerformers John Hay and Sarah Steben take part in Bill Viola's video art piece "The Fall into Paradise," part of his exhibit "The Moving Portrait" now featured at the National Portrait Gallery. COURTESY PHOTO

WASHINGTON D.C. — Moving pictures meet portraiture. Video, a popular media form used for almost any purpose, is rarely utilized for slow, perceptual contemplation often achieved in paintings or music.

Bill Viola’s work “The Moving Portrait” does exactly that. His work is more akin to portraiture rather than narrative stories often seen in video. His work focuses on facial language and slow-motion to allow a calmer, meditative attention to his footage.

These videos focus on the physical actions of his subjects rather than the promise of a narrative climax or conclusion to maintain interest. Examples include “The Raft”, a high-definition video projection of nineteen people suddenly hit by a high-pressure stream of water.

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Center Stage: Olney’s “Fickle” does commendable nod to French theater

xFickle photoPerformers in the production of “Fickle," now playing at the Olney Theatre. COURTESY PHOTO

OLNEY — An amusing production of “Fickle” is running at the Olney Theatre based on the French play “The Double Inconstancy.” In the play, a prince, his servants and countryside peasants interact together in a series of comical twists.

“Fickle” begins when a prince falls for for a peasant girl named Silvia (Kathryn Tkel) and kidnaps both her and her husband, Harlequin (Andy Reinhardt), bringing them to his castle.

The Prince, played by Christopher Dinolfo, is a naïve fellow who enjoys wearing costumes and thinks that impersonating others is the way to win over Silvia’s heart. Meanwhile, Harlequin as the starved peasant is played for laughs since he is obsessed with eating cheese throughout the play.

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Center Stage: Getting on the “Hot Beat” at Smithsonian American Art

WASHINGTON — An exhibit of Gene Davis’ work “Hot Beat” is currently running at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. At “Hot Beat,” visitors can view Davis’ signature art, which is defined by his unprecedented use of multi-colored, rhythmic stripes.

The title of Davis’ exhibit is also the namesake of one of his artworks. “Hot Beat”, like many of his other paintings, has a repeating motif of one color surrounded by colors that pop out and play with the notions of the viewer.

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Center Stage: "Children of Eden" adaptation is kinder version

children of eden photoSebastian Amoruso as Japheth in “Children of Eden.” COURTESY PHOTO  

WASHINGTON D.C.  — Last weekend, a production of “Children of Eden” ran at the Levine School of Music. The play, an adaptation of the story of Adam and Eve, their descendants, and Noah and his ark, is a gentle interpretation of God’s relationship to mankind.

The Levine School of Music is a non-profit community music center that accepts students of all ages regardless of their theater background. As a result, “Children of Eden” was a diverse production of actors. 

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Center Stage: Morella’s adaptation of “Christmas Carol” is a feast

Paul Morella in A Christmas CarolPaul Morella from Olney Theatre's "A Christmas Carol." COURTESY PHOTO

OLNEY — Alongside its smash hit production of “Mary Poppins”, the Olney Theatre Center is also running “A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas” for the holiday season.

Paul Morella, one of Olney Theatre’s favorites, returns from his role as Otto Frank from his previous Olney show “The Diary of Anne Frank” to perform “A Christmas Carol” entirely by himself.

Although “A Christmas Carol” is popularly performed by a cast of characters, the Olney Theatre is unique for offering the experience “the way Dickens intended” by having one person narrate and act out the story himself.

As a result, Olney’s production retains much more of the dialogue and literary imagery described by Dickens in his novel.

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