Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Round House Theater

Also see Susan's reviews of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Mother Courage and Her Children

Marty Lodge and Katie deBuys
Battles of words can be just as deadly as any other form of warfare. That is the primary message of Seminar, the comedy by Theresa Rebeck now at Round House Theater in Bethesda, Maryland.

Jerry Whiddon, Round House's artistic director for 20 years, returns to stage Rebeck's story of overeducated and underemployed writers in New York, competing with each other to earn the favor of Leonard (Marty Lodge), a famous author and editor who's seen and heard everything.

The members of the class are tightly wrapped Kate (Katie deBuys), a perfectionist who's been rewriting the same story for six years; hangdog Martin (Alexander Strain), Kate's deeply insecure longtime friend; Douglas (Tom Story), a supercilious fellow who talks about concepts like "interiority and exteriority"; and Izzy (Laura C. Harris), attractive and not afraid to use her looks to get what she wants. The five characters pair up in a constantly shifting series of configurations as Leonard pontificates and searches vainly to read something that excites him.

Whiddon and Lodge have worked together many times, and their rapport comes through in Lodge's deceptively easy portrayal. He presents Leonard as a low-key cynic, battered by life (he's constantly traveling to distant war zones) and determined to knock some sense into these naïfs. The other actors have their moments—Strain's shaggy-dog quality, Story's smug lack of self-awareness—but this is Lodge's show.

James Kronzer makes the most of the wide Round House stage to create another elegantly appointed set: a lavish Upper West Side apartment owned by Kate's family.

Round House Theatre
February 5th - March 2nd
By Theresa Rebeck
Izzy: Laura C. Harris
Martin: Alexander Strain
Kate: Katie deBuys
Douglas: Tom Story
Leonard: Marty Lodge
Directed by Jerry Whiddon
4545 East-West Highway
Bethesda, MD
Ticket Information: 240-5644-1100 or

Photo: Danisha Crosby