By Ronnie Ruff
Forum Theatre & Dance mounts two plays The Gas Heart by Tristan Tzara and Hamletmachine by Heiner Muller that have a an anti-war message as part of their season titled “The Present Moment”. World Wars I and II are the focus of these one-acts that seek to tie the reactions from those wars to those of present day conflicts.
Presented first,The Gas Heart, has six actors portraying different parts of a human face — An eye, eybrow, ear, nose, mouth and neck are played by Hugh T. Owen, Jay Hardee, Abby Wood, Alexander Strain, Grady Weatherford and Fiona Blackshaw. All of the various facial parts chat back and forth in a poetic almost melodious jargon that is at it’s core uncalculated elegance. Jay Hardee and Hugh Owen shine with their light-hearted performances and the entire cast seems to handle the interpretive movements brilliantly. In Hamletmachine the entire cast, especially Mr. Owen (Hamlett), give cutting, very professional performances worthy of acclaim. As in previous Forum shows the sound design was stellar. This company is always in excellent form with the technical aspects of a production and this show was no exception. The stage design was minimal for this show — it was adequate for the material being performed.
With this production, directed by Kathleen Akerley and Michael Dove, Forum takes one giant step forward and one can only eagerly anticipate their next offering. With superior acting and direction Forum proves that a new, fresh, vibrant theatre company can provide edgy, exciting theatre on a limited budget.
The Gas Heart and Hamletmachine at the Warehouse Theater, 1021 Seventh St. NW
8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Through Feb. 5.
TICKETS: $12 to $18