Monday, April 20, 2009

Annie Hall Redux

Performance: The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall
Theater
: Theater J. 1529 16th Street NW
Metro Stops
: Dupont Circle – Red line or U Street/Cardozo-Green line. Directions here.
Genre
: Commedy
Cost
: $25 tickets for people 25 and under. Pay What You Can 4/15 and 4/16
Dates
: Through May 24
Through:
5/24

The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall is a story of 20-something angst. It’s a tale of artists, starving in the city, trying to figure out if they can become the performers they think they should be, or if they even want to. It’s all the kooky neuroticism of Woody Allen, with all the hip banter of Friends, and all the pot scenes of Seth Rogan. In the world premiere of Sam Froman’s new play, we are told the captivating story of Henry (Josh Lefkowitz), a struggling 29-year-old playwright, who hasn’t writing a good play since college. He is clearly addicted to brain crack (if you do not know what brain crack is, you MUST watch this video) He sits in his apartment, thinking of brilliant ideas with his writing partner, Will (Matthew A. Anderson)and his girlfriend Annie (Tessa Klein), but he doesn’t seem to do much to make them happen. He seems to mistake networking for working. The story is deliciously impotent. It has all the signs of progress without any notable change. It is full of big ideas, and small actions. It is a tall of the intimate, ongoing crisis of the day to day life of an average gen-x-er. Oh, and it’s really funny (in a Woody-esq way). Lefkowitz has moments of sheer brilliance, especially in his asides to the audience. His monologues make us waffle between giggles and belly laughs, with moments of incredible awkwardness (but the best kind of awkwardness). He is a master of the humorous over-share.

The parallels to Annie Hall are numerous. I’d say you really need to see the movie before you see the play (but then again, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you really need to get on it. It’s a classic, dude!). The characters, the relationships, and the plot are all a sweet (if not over-eager) homage to Alan. There are moments when Lefkowitz is Woody incarnate, though his character is a little more effeminate, and a little less Jewish.

The show is a blast. It’s a nearly non-stop comedy that waffles between silly and brilliant. It is touching, and frustrating in all the right places. It is especially appropriate for young adults, so I encourage all of you to take advantage of that YA price. If I hear of any other deals, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, rent the movie, and then go see the play. I am happy to be able to give 4/5 starving artists to a play about 4 starving artists (and one artist who is making money). How apropos.


p.s. check out my new tag cloud and updated blogroll in the sidebar. Very exciting. Shout-out to Kevin M. Keating, who is a html rockstar.

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