Photo by Tony Powell. Arena Stage Mother Courage. January 7, 2014 Photo by Tony Powell. Arena Stage Mother Courage. January 7, 2014

Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children has been called by some the greatest anti-war play ever. The astonishing work, written in a month in 1939 on the eve of Hitler’s invasion of Poland, tells of a single mother determined to keep her family alive and her business afloat during the Thirty Years War that tore Europe apart in the early 17th century. Fusing politics and satire, this provocative work was the vehicle for Brecht’s protest of the Nazi and Fascist powers tearing Europe apart once again as World War II began. Such a powerful play is ageless but it is getting a new look at Arena Stage, when under the direction of Molly Smith it will be staged for the first time ever in the round as a musical. Iconic stage and screen actress and Academy Award nominee Kathleen Turner returns to Arena, making her professional singing debut as the tough-as-nails matriarch Mother Courage. The production incorporates more than 10 pieces of original music composed in a rollicking, gypsy-punk style and performed by cast members doubling as musicians. How can there be music and humor in a play with such gloomy themes, one written on the eve of a war which Wikipedia estimates might possibly have resulted in 70 million deaths? Best to put pre-conceived doubts aside, and expect the unexpected at Arena’s latest offering of this classic that explores the many effects of unending warfare on one family trying to survive.

WHEN: January 31-March 9, 2014

SOUTHWEST NIGHT: Tuesday, February 4 at 7:30 p.m.

WANT TO KNOW MORE: To check out the video of Turner discussing this production, visit arenastage.org/shows-tickets/the-season/productions/mother-courage-and-her-children/media/.

Mother Courage and Her Children Special Events:

WHAT: The Art of War, a look at artists’ reactions to war over the years.

WHEN: Sunday, February 23, following the 6:00 p.m. performance

WHAT: Piano Bar

WHEN: Wednesday, February 26 following the 7:30 p.m. performance

WHAT: Post-Show Discussions with Artists and Staff

WHEN: February 11, 12 & 19 following the noon matinee; February 20 following the 8:00 p.m. performance, and February 25 following the 7:30 p.m. performance.

ALL PERFORMANCES AT KOGOD CRADLE AT ARENA STAGE:

WHAT: Workshop performance of new work by Samuel D. Hunter

WHEN: February 6-9, Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00 p.m. & Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

COST: Tickets are $10

WHAT: Six members of the inaugural Playwrights’ group will share excerpts from each of their plays and discuss their writing process during the program.

WHEN: March 6-9, Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00 p.m. & Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

COST: Tickets are $10

INFORMATION: arenastage.org/artistic-development/new-play-institute/playwrights-arena/.

WHAT; Kogod Cradle Series Special Presentation Loveland Writer/performer Ann Randolph in the role of Frannie Potts, an irreverent oddball trapped on a plane as she travels from California to Ohio for her mother’s funeral.

WHEN: March 18-April 13, 2014 Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

COST: Tickets start at $25

WHAT: The Summit, an in-depth exploration of DC Theater in three acts
featuring 17 distinguished actors, directors, playwrights, and artistic directors discussing their work. Peter Marks, the Washington Post theater critic, will host the events.
WHEN: February 17, March 24 and April 28 at 7:00 p.m.
COST: Free but call Arena for reservations

By: Sheila Wickouski

Captions

Mother Courage.Solo1

Kathleen Turner as Mother Courage in Mother Courage and Her Children at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater January 31-March 9, 2014. Photo by Tony Powell.

Mother Courage.Family3

(clockwise from top left) Nicholas Rodriguez as Eilif, Kathleen Turner as Mother Courage, Nehal Joshi as Swiss Cheese, and Erin Weaver as Kattrin in Mother Courage and Her Children at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater January 31-March 9, 2014. Photo by Tony Powell.

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