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Arts Post
Posted at 12:09 PM ET, 10/26/2011

Sex Ed, The Crucible and After the Fall in this week’s Backstage

This week, Washingtonians get an Arthur Miller double-feature. Keegan Theatre is keeping on theme with Halloween, bringing on the witchcraft with “The Crucible.”

"The Crucible" at the Keegan Theatre 2010 (Photo by Cameron Whitman.)
“It’s the conversation about the darkness, the dark side of being a human being, and the things that we can do to each other,” said Susan Marie Rhea, the show’s director. “More often [on tour in Ireland], I was asked about the sense of religious intolerance and fear, and how it can drive such ugliness. And in the wake of 9/11, surely that foot of fanaticism, we needed something to blame. I think the combination of human desire and instinct to have a definitive target, combined with fear, and throw in a dash of religious intolerance and bingo: you have what happened in the wake of 9/11. And that says Miller struck at something that was just innately human.”

Over at Theater J, Ari Roth is enjoying his 100th production as artistic director with “After the Fall,” one of Miller’s more controversial works. Not that people aren’t ever game to spend a couple hours hanging around inside someone’s brain, but “After the Fall” is an especially intense experience.

Roth says the play asks, “What does it mean to be moral?’ The answer is: live a life of truth. People need to write and live and speak truthfully, and not hide behind P.C. dogma, and not live lies in their marriages. In the midst of wreckage and loss, you find the will, by embracing uncertainty, to begin anew.”

Doorway Arts Ensemble is offering up something a little more scandalous: “Sex and Education,” in which a high school basketball star inadvertently enlists the aid of his (seemingly) uptight English teacher in his quest to convince his girlfriend to have sex with him. Turns out his teacher knows just as much about four-letter words as she does auxiliary verbs.

Jonathan Douglass, who plays the shocked jock eager to bed his high school honey, said of his character, “[Joe] was the big guy on campus, but he still has this girl. As much as a man as he was, this girl had him wrapped around her finger. She was the boss. And women have that effect on me. Women are just so influential.”

Check out this week’s Backstage column for more on these productions, and share your thoughts on twitter with @jessicagolds using the hashtag #backstage.

By  |  12:09 PM ET, 10/26/2011

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