Camp David

March 21—May 4 $75–$90
Arena Stage
1101 6th St. SW, Washington, DC
(202) 488-3300
The Camp David Accords might never have been signed were it not for President Jimmy Carter’s golf cart. In Camp David, the world premiere play at Arena Stage, there’s no way for characters to negotiate the stage without it. As Carter, Richard Thomas never seems more confident that he’s steering Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (Ron Rifkin) and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat (Khaled Nabawy) toward peace than when he’s behind the wheel of his onstage vehicle. It’s an ingenious device, providing both a convenient segue between scenes and a sense that the small stage is actually a 6,000-acre retreat where the world leaders have secretly squirreled themselves away for 13 days. The script is a thoroughly researched recreation of the 1978 talks that lead to a truce between Israel and Egypt and the eventual return of the Sinai Peninsula to the Arab nation. As with so many other history plays and classic dramas, the audience enters knowing how the show will end. All four actors deserve praise for effectively portraying their respective historical characters, and all come off as sincere rather than rehashing old arguments. [RJR]

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