Tender Napalm

March 18—May 11 $29–$87
Signature Theatre
4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington, VA
Map
(703) 820-9771
For 90 claustrophobic, intermissionless minutes, Woman and Man circle one another on an unfurnished, in-the-round stage that features a translucent dance floor but feels more like an arena. They take turns delineating in hyperbolic, then clinical, detail how they intend to express their mutual desire, love, and loathing, in variable order of significance. What becomes apparent is that we’re in some shared-psychic-trauma purgatory of which Man and Woman are the sole occupants. Something has made reality as articulated in ordinary speech too painful to bear, so they communicate in outrageous sexual threats and childish make-believe riddles. What happened to bring them here, and where here is, are mysteries for the audience to decode. Even if you’re insufficiently intrigued to take part in the puzzle-solving, there’s pleasure to be had from the musicality of the fanciful words they spit and seethe at one another, the actors’ innate athleticism, and the beat-by-beat emotional minutiae that flickers across their faces. [CK]

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4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington
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4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington
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Signature Theatre -
4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington
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