Monday, February 22, 2016

City Of Conversation

I went to see "City of Conversation" at Arena Stage on Friday, and I'm still thinking about it, which I think is a good sign.  It spans several generations and covers a topic that is so on point right now, that I actually spent a few minutes wondering if this was the best or worst time to watch such a play.  The main character is a Georgetown woman who is deeply involved in national politics, though not an officeholder, and starts when her son and his (surprise) fiancee arrive home and participate in a political dinner party, where it becomes clear that the son (and fiancee) are of a different political stripe.  It shifts ahead, as the part in power shifts, and the family members negotiate what this means for their personal lives.  I think it raised more questions than it answered, and in some cases, I felt like the characters skimmed over what to me seemed crucial parts of their arguments (although certainly that could be a point towards realism).  It was definitely the kind of play that the conversations people were having as they exited were really interesting, so as that kind of thing it was very successful. There were quite a few cast members who were making their Arena debut (including a small child who turns out to be a friend of a friend's child, so that was a fun connection).  The cast was great. 
It was the first play I saw at the Fichandler where I felt really cognizant of the staging in the round.  During the dinner party in the early part, there was a noticeable amount of people shifting and bouncing and resetting themselves.  I don't know if it became less noticeable to me later because the remaining scenes had less characters or had better reason to move about.  This is a small quibble in a thing I enjoyed. 
Edited for spelling.