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  Contractions at Studio Theatre


Studio Theatre
1501 14th St. NW Washington

Inspired by real-life "love clauses" that dictate the nature and extent of office relationships, Contractions is an ink-black satire written by award-winning British playwright Mike Bartlett (Cock). The show, which is making its U.S. premiere at the Studio Theatre, finds Emma and her manager in a series of cordial but increasingly tense conversations about the differences between "sexual" and "romantic," the allowable length of her interoffice relationship and the reality of a world ruled by binding contracts and shrinking privacy. Duncan Macmillan directs.

Thru - Feb 3, 2013

Wednesdays: 8:00pm
Thursdays: 8:00pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 8:00pm
Sundays: 7:00pm

Price: $48

Running Time: 1 hour with no intermission

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  Contractions Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Washington Post - Somewhat Recommended

"..."Contractions," stylishly directed by Duncan Macmillan, whose play "Lungs" was given its world premiere at Studio in October 2011, makes its American debut as part of Studio 2ndStage, a play series run by the company's managing director, Keith Alan Baker. It's a blackhearted play for the year's harshest months, fierce and funny, but also so righteous in its convictions that it proves a bit deaf to some of its own more facile assumptions."
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Peter Marks

MetroWeekly - Recommended

"...The focus is on dissecting Emma's relationship with her never-seen office colleague Darren, from flirtatious first date to childbearing to bitter, bruising end. I mentioned this was a black comedy right? The match, as it were, grows increasingly surreal, and by play's end the Manager, with her frozen smile and rigid personality, reveals herself to be uncaring, maybe even soulless - and a Boss for Life to poor Emma, since she won't let her out of her contractual obligations to the company. Because, you know, Manager knows best."

Doug Rule

City Paper - Somewhat Recommended

"...Keegan's Emma shows enough spark early on that you half expect her to crack the Manager's immaculate façade eventually, but that's not where Bartlett's going. There's literally nothing human about Twyford's character-which must be a huge challenge for the actress. There's no story arc for her; she's as implacable at the finish as at the start."
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Trey Graham

DC Metro Theater Arts - Highly Recommended

"... The Studio Theatre’s 2ndStage has produced a very exciting and provocative new play by Mike Bartlett entitled Contractions The message of this play is that we are often pawns of unfeeling regulations and codes of conduct in the workplace, and that our private autonomy is sacrificed in strict subservience to the all-powerful company/office. This is a very satiric and disturbing (and all too relevant to today) piece, and it is swiftly and effectively directed by Duncan Macmillan."
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David Friscic

Washington Blade - Recommended

"...British director Duncan Macmillan ably helms the top-notch production and Twyford and Wilmoth Keegan both deliver knockout performances. With a frozen smile, glazed eyes and hilariously placed pauses, Twyford (who is gay) is at the top of her game as the corporate automaton. Wilmoth Keegan is equally terrific and wonderfully natural as Emma."
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Patrick Folliard

MD Theatre Guide - Recommended

"...To be sure, Contractions has the potential to provoke discourse about the side effects of our legalistic, politically correct culture. Global capitalism and its computer-aided bureaucracy do indeed threaten individual identity and personal freedom. And a woman's biology remains an obstacle to her career advancement. The script's deterministic nature and nullification of agency, however, undermine its serious political intent. Bertolt Brecht argues for a theatre committed to exploring contemporary social structures and the behaviors motivated therefrom. Though falling short, Contractions offers us a glimpse of just what such a theatre might look like in the electronic age."
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Robert Michael Oliver

DCTheatreScene - Highly Recommended

In this difficult economy, how far would you go to keep your job? Studio Theatre plumbs the comedy and horror of corporate overreach, ubiquitous surveillance, and the limits of human tolerance in Contractions, a nerve-jangling 60 minute standoff marked by jet black humor and twisted office politics.
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Ben Demers

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