‘Absalom,’ second Hothouse offering, draws diverse audience

This past Monday’s "Absalom" after-drama feedback session’s lively participants included a diverse cross-section of out of town theater arts students.

Playwright Dane Figueroa Edidi and cast discuss her new play, "Absalom." (Credit: Malcolm Lewis Barnes)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2015 – Now underway at the Anacostia Playhouse, the Theater Alliance’s Hothouse Series of new dramatic works in progress unveiled Dane Figueroa Edidi’s “Absalom” this week as its second offering. It’s an historical allegory of palace intrigue in a period in antiquity as filtered through transgender prism.

Lively audience discussion group tackles "Absalom" at DC Theater Alliance's Hothouse new play festival. (Credit: Malcolm Lewis Barnes)
Lively audience discussion group tackles “Absalom” at D.C. Theater Alliance’s Hothouse new play festival. (Credit: Malcolm Lewis Barnes)

The Alliance once again raised the bar Monday with a stimulating, after-drama feedback session with a lively audience that included a surprisingly diverse cross-section of out of town theater arts students from the North Carolina College of the Arts, the alma mater of its producing artistic director Colin Hovde.

During the discussion, playwright Dane Figueroa Edidi put everything in perspective, noting, “Theater is a marriage of creatives” while bemoaning the fact that there are only three transgender actors in D.C., with two-thirds of that limited universe included in the reading of her play earlier in the evening.

Read also: Hothouse New Play Development Series off to sizzling start with ‘Play Ball.’

Despite that limitation, “Absalom” director Jared Shamberger praised the deep bench of acting talent the reading was able to draw upon, including Dannielle Hutchinson, Kell Blackwell, Jeremy Hunter, Ian Anthony and Tony Thomas.

Clearly, the audience loved the humor and complexity of the drama’s characters, the seduction scenes and the Biblical interpretations of each character’s station in the palace hierarchy. But no one could mistake the attitude and intentions of the playwright, who said, “I’m African and Cuban and indigenous, and affection as duty is not love.”

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