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  Play Details

The Big Meal

The Studio Theatre
1501 14th St. NW Washington

From the vantage point of a single restaurant table, five generations share the moments, both epic and intimate, that make a life. Called “one of the more emotionally consuming experiences of recent decades” (Chicago Sun Times), The Big Meal explodes from the mind of one of the country’s most intriguing playwrights.

Thru - May 20, 2012

Wednesdays: 8:30pm
Thursdays: 8:30pm
Fridays: 8:30pm
Saturdays: 8:30pm
Sundays: 7:30pm


Box Office: 202-332-3300

Running Time: 1hr, 30mins; no intermission

www.studiotheatre.org


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  Review Round-Up

Washington Post - Somewhat Recommended

"... The concept is clever, though the most intense feeling I could muster for “The Big Meal” was a mild appreciation for the technical victory in traffic-copping this 80-minute onrush of life’s ups and downs. Once the playwright sets down the rules — and “The Big Meal” does indeed unfold as if it were a game — you’re pretty clear where this is all headed: The meet-cute first date. The unruliness accompanying a need for children’s menus. The dinner at which a mom notices a lump in her side. The disoriented old man who needs to be coaxed into taking a bite. You could no doubt customize a version of “The Big Meal” to your own experiential recipe."
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Peter Marks


City Paper - Recommended

"...Director Johann Gruenhut and the cast convey these time-leaps and role-swaps with exceptional grace and clarity. Whether it was Gruenhut or LeFranc who came up with the notion of using a few simple pieces of costume to help us track who’s who—a leather jacket for Nicole, a pair of glasses for Sam—it’s a smart device. The Big Meal, more than any play on Washington stages in recent memory, is truly an ensemble piece: The players’ synchronicity is as essential as a band’s. Still, if you were to weight the performances by degree of difficulty, Matthews and Genebach’s work would seem most extraordinary. They’re the ones tasked with showing us how youth thickens into middle age, and they pull off the illusion physically and vocally without assistance from makeup or wardrobe. Acting classes prescribe these kinds of exercises all the time, which takes nothing away from the fact that it works phenomenally. But then, even the child actors in this production, Maya Brettell and Sam O’Brien, are uncommonly convincing."
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Chris Klimek


Washingtonian - Recommended

"... Director Johanna Gruenhut seamlessly choreographs scenes, so tables are pushed together and then removed and actors duck in and out of character by simply putting on a sweater, or a necklace, or a pair of glasses. The focus here isn't so much on food (although when characters do eat, it's usually pretty significant, with Taurchini's black-clad waitress becoming a Grim Reaper-esque harbinger of impending doom). It's on family and on how no matter who you are, putting yourself in a particular role will inevitably define you more than you know. LeFranc has a way with comedy--"We could go places together!" Nikki tells Sam. "Dayton?" he replies--that keeps the action entertaining, even if it ultimately bites off more metaphysical ideas than it can thoroughly chew."
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Sophie Gilbert


DC Metro Theater Arts - Highly Recommended

"...Overall, everything about this show flowed well together and it was an engaging story that held my attention for the entire time. There was never a dull moment. Just when you thought you knew everything about the family in front of you, a new twist was thrown at you. When the show ended, the thunderous applause didn’t stop until the cast came out for a second bow – beckoned by the excited audience members."

Don Michael Mendoza


ShowBizRadio - Highly Recommended

"... Studio Theatre 2nd Stage, Ms. Gruenhut, and her cast and crew have put together a scintillatingly nuanced, expertly balanced, and thoroughly entertaining production that holds up a mirror to the best and worst of our families."
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Eric Jones


MD Theatre Guide - Highly Recommended

"... Overall, the strong cast finds the humor and the drama in the story and brings clarity to what could be an even more muddled play in less-capable hands. When this high level of acting is coupled with strong production values- including Timothy R. Mackabee’s realistic set design and Elisheba Ittoop’s situation-appropriate, understated sound design and original music- the end result is a worthy theatrical experience. LeFranc offers a compelling glimpse of the American family and shows good promise as a writer; the cast charged with bringing his words to life is first-rate."
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Jennifer Perry



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