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  Elephant Room at Arena Stage

Elephant Room

Arena Stage
1101 Sixth Street, SW Washington

From the uninhibited minds of the “engaging” (Washington Post) absurdist performance duo Rainpan 43 (all wear bowlers) and actor/magician Steve Cuiffo comes a new theatrical experience. Three semi-pro magicians — a divorced shaman, a mentalist with a penchant for warlock acts and a ladies’ man card master — join to piece their lives together. An evening of magic born from the harsh lies we tell ourselves, Elephant Room reveals that the more we hide behind our self-made smoke and mirrors, the further we expose our own vulnerabilities.

Thru - Feb 26, 2012

Price: $40-$85

Box Office: 202-488-3300

  Elephant Room Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Washington Post - Somewhat Recommended

"... If all these guys are doing is making us feel silly for having believed — a variation on the task magicians attempt — then “Elephant Room” is a meaner-spirited piece than I’m allowing for. In any event, it’s probably the kind of entertainment best viewed by an audience in an altered state. Because in one’s right frame of mind, the show reveals it has very little up its sleeve."
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Peter Marks

DCist - Recommended

"... The three cast members embody their personae with abandon, and on this night, unlike many shows that rely on participation from the audience, those called to the stage on Friday were particularly engaged and willing to go with the flow. After a strong opening half hour, the pace of the 75-minute performance slows in the middle before picking up at the end. However, there's little effect on an overall experience that doesn't pretend to be anything more than what it is -- a fun night out."
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Sriram Gopal

MetroWeekly - Highly Recommended

"... Yet with every joke, gag and inventive piece of slapstick, there is also a cleverly satirical conjuring of a particular 21st century brand of Americana and a very distinct touch of the surreal. And as funny and funky as the magic is, there is ultimately an even bigger illusion in play, one that encompasses production and audience alike. Even though it is somewhat lost in the hilarity of the nearly nonstop action, the effect delivers after the show, as one contemplates the concept of persona and all it entails."

Kate Wingfield

WeLoveDC - Highly Recommended

"... The banter is campy, the slapstick is goofy (think The Lonely Island doing The Creep), the tone is almost satiric. It all comes together to create a highly entertaining performance."
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Patrick Pho

Talkin Broadway - Highly Recommended

"... It's very difficult to describe what goes on in this 75-minute show, but it's fascinating, and much of it is hilarious. As created by Steve Cuiffo, Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle, and directed by Paul Lazar, the show brings together three performers who come to magic from different perspectives: Dennis Diamond has the charisma of a rock star; Daryl Hannah (no relation to the actress) is more spiritual; and Louie Magic is the magician as working stiff. The "Elephant Room" of the title, as envisioned by scenic designer Mimi Lien, is a place where magicians gather, a seedy, little basement space with shabby curtains, dark paneled walls, and a foundation of cinder blocks."
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Susan Berlin

City Paper - Recommended

"... I take nothing away from the trio’s deftly executed feats of levitation, dematerialization (wherein one of them appears to leap through the torso of another, like the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde), and, ah, lightbulb lactation when I say Elephant Room is a comedy show first and foremost. There’s always more than one thing happening on designer Mimi Lien’s shoebox diorama-style cutaway stage, and the bits flow into one another gracefully, albeit with a lot of help from the cheeseball soundtrack of Alicia Silverstone-era Aerosmith and “Careless Whisper”-style saxophone. The sound design, of which the songs are but one part, goes a long way toward establishing an otherworldly vibe in the show’s concluding moments. At a svelte 75 minutes, it doesn’t overstay."
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Chris Klimek

Washingtonian - Highly Recommended

"... The Elephant Room, currently playing at Arena Stage, is kind of like the magic show your mom booked for your eighth birthday party—you know, if instead of pulling rabbits out of their hats, the magicians poured milk out of a light bulb, levitated a concrete block, and turned a doll into a bottle of whiskey. Following its debut at the 2011 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, the three-man production has taken its out-there illusions to Arena’s newest stage, and I’m not going to lie to you—things get weird. But it’s an enjoyable, laugh-out-loud kind of weird."
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Gwendolyn Purdom

MD Theatre Guide - Highly Recommended

"...Director Paul Lazar has brilliantly choreographed comic moments with the magicians, who play off of – and talk over – one another as if it is second nature. Set Designer Mimi Lien has quite literally created the ‘Elephant Room,’ a zany basement propped several feet above the stage, where, “The walls are made of secrets… or particle board…” The magicians variably crawl on, around, and through this space. Less than an hour and a half after it begins, the production has coated the room and its immediate vicinity in the remains of props, tinsel, vegetables, and the occasional splash of cracked egg or spilled milk."
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Natalie McCabe

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