Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

I and You
Olney Theatre Center

Also see Susan's review of Beaches

The challenge facing a reviewer writing about I and You, the two-character drama now at the Olney Theatre Center in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, is how much and how little to say about it. Lauren Gunderson's two-character play packs a lot of impact into less than 90 minutes, but audiences should know as little as possible about it going in.

The audience in the compact Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab joins Caroline (Rachael Tice) and Anthony (Thaddeus Fitzpatrick) as they navigate a high school project on the poetry of Walt Whitman. They are classmates, but they don't know each other at all; they don't seem to have much in common as he's a basketball player who carries junk food in his backpack and she's rather prickly and seeking inspiration in music and art.

What Gunderson's play does, and what Tice and Fitzpatrick convey skillfully while avoiding the trap of "acting young," is to demonstrate how connections can develop in unexpected places—in this case, through examining the role of the pronouns "I" and "you" in Whitman's "Song of Myself." Caroline wonders about the relevance of some 19th-century poet, but Anthony is determined to show that Whitman's observations of self and the greater world remain current even in an era of selfies and posting cute cat photos on Twitter.

Director Eleanor Holdridge guides the action subtly, allowing things to happen in a natural rhythm without ever becoming self-consciously theatrical. She has helped to create a rapport between the actors that never seems less than totally honest.

Dan Conway's scenic design crowds a surprising amount of detail into a constrained space.

Olney is presenting one of three premiere U.S. productions of I and You as part of the National New Play Network's Rolling World Premiere program.

Olney Theatre Center
I and You February 26th - March 23rd
By Lauren Gunderson
Caroline: Rachael Tice
Anthony: Thaddeus Fitzpatrick
Directed by Eleanor Holdridge
Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road
Olney, MD
Ticket Information: 301-924-3400 or