Courage, Dog & Pony Theatre at the CHAW

Last night, I got to go to an early performance of Courage, Dog & Pony's version of everybody's favorite rock and roll political hootenany, Mother Courage and Her Children. Or maybe that's just the show when D&P is in charge.

Because here's the thing. For all that I have a shiny secondary degree in theatre, my knowledge of Brecht is contained to what I picked up from an Intro to Theatre class (where we bored scores of undergrads with bullet points on the Alienation Effect) and a high school production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle my sister did years ago. When you hear that someone is producing Mother Courage, you can't help but have a little voice inside you that says, 'Go, because this will be theatre that is Good for You .'

Or maybe it's just me who has Brecht-related thoughts in sparkle-text (but MAN I HOPE NOT!)

IN ANY CASE. I hear Brecht, I think cough syrup. Important, necessary, but not exactly candy.

Then I went to see THIS version. To start, there's a pre-show with the rockin' band and free beer and juice boxes for all (they had me at the juice box, I'm not gonna lie). The ensemble, led by DC gem Wyckham Avery, are passionate, engaging and imminently watchable- with the direction of Rachel Grossman, there's never a moment when you tune out. The show can be called 'in your face' in the best sense- there's a genuine energy in the tiny Capitol Hill Arts Workshop space that draws you in and (occasionally) up out of your seat. The design of the show is the best kind of general mishmash and the music makes you want to join in on every chorus (and hey- there are lyric sheets thoughtfully provided for a few numbers!).

I wish I could keep going with my strange analogies and draw one to Life cereal at this point, but honestly, I don't like Life (cereal). So imagine if someone told you that Fruit Loops were actually somehow magically made of bran and teeming with antioxidants. IT'S LIKE THAT. I'm already planning on going back to see the show again- don't miss your opportunity.

Courage - a political theatre revival

Bertolt Brecht's
Mother Courage and Her Children
a new version by David Hare
June 2 - June 26, 2010
Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.
at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop
Tickets $15 advance, $20 @ Door
Directed by Rachel Grossman
Original music by John Milosich


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