- Adapted and directed by Tobin Atkinson
- Produced by Meat and Potato Theatre
- Reviewed by Ronnie Ruff
Meat and Potato Theatre’s season opener shows the company’s continued commitment to risk and attention to detail.
The story takes place in the ruins of the Rashomon gate of Kyoto where three men (more about that later) huddle to keep out of a torrential rain storm. They soon discover that a stranger’s apparent murder will change their lives in a profound way. To find out the truth, all three delve into the mystery of the death and trial. They find that truth is a matter of how someone spins it.
Meat and Potato’s Artistic Director Tobin Atkinson has adapted the short stories that inspired Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 film by using Kabuki and Bunraku puppetry. The results are mixed results. When the puppets are on stage, the production is quite interesting with impressive samurai sequences. But the piece starts off slowly with the Commoner (Brandon Ferraro) alone on stage. The Woodcutter and Priest are heard as voices. But is not clear whether they are speaking to him from somewhere else or just out of site.
The Bandit (Jay Saunders) is quirky enough to make his character stand out. Marynell Hinton brings a wise almost motherly quality to the part of the Wife.
One thing that always strikes me about a Meat and Potato production is their attention to detail. The costumes and set for this show in the little back room at Playbill Café are nothing less than fantastic. Stone facades and printed screens make up a very well designed set. The costumes are a mixture of samurai style and peasant pizazz. It is obvious that the designers care very much about their art. I have seen quite a few shows from companies with far more resources that do not come near this small companies’ history of putting a well designed show on stage.
While Rashomon is not the most accessible material or adaption, it is none the less an enjoyable way to spend an evening at the theatre.
- (Running Time 1:15)
- When: Now thru Nov 4. Wednesdays-Sundays at 7:30 pm
- Where: 1409 Playbill Café, 1409 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20006
- Tickets: $9 (Wednesdays) $10-$18 all other performances
- Info: Order online or available at the door. Phone: 703 587-5730