DC at Night

DC at Night

Monday, September 22, 2014

Taffety Punk Gives Some Sympathy to the Devil

Welcome to this week's Monday Must-See, Must-Do post. On Mondays, we offer an entry about some current exhibit, event, or dining experience in DC you should take in. Sometimes, we will write the post. Sometimes, it will be taken from another publication. But no matter who is the writer, we believe Monday Must-See, Must-Do will showcase something you shouldn't miss. 

Imagine the Devil as a foul-mouthed standup comic, grabbing the mike and launching into raunchy riffs on good and evil. "Know all those Slayer fans making those (Devil-horn) signs. Well, I hate heavy metal," Satan says with a demonic laugh.

Or envision him as an exasperated CEO, dealing with incompetent underlings on the phone (red, of course, this is the Devil we're talking about). "What do you mean you're in Georgetown and just possessed a 12-year-old girl? The President of the United States is just a few blocks away, you idiot."

Marcus Kyd taking on the Devil's work and words
These are just 2 of the scenarios in Taffety Punk's presentation of The Devil in His Own Words now being presented at the Capitol Hills Arts Workshop through Oct. 4.

Taffety Punk's engaging, 1-character offering is a reworking of a play the company performed when in debuted in DC in 2004.

The source material is taken from the words of some of the world's greatest writers. Here is a partial list:
  • "The Devil and Daniel Webster" by Stephen Vincent Benet
  • "The Devil and Mr. Chips" by Charles Dickens
  • "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • "The Devil and Tom Walker" by Washington Irving
  • "Paradise Lost" by John Milton
  • "The Painter's Bargain" by William Makepeace Thackery and
  • "The Mysterious Stranger" by Mark Twain
Of course, given the subject, there are also frequent references from the alpha and omega books of The Bible - "Genesis" and "The Book of Revelation."

The Devil in a different light
But even with the best material, it's always really up to the actors to convey the story to the viewers. And Marcus Kyd more than meets that challenge. For 80 minutes, alone on stage with just a handful of well-utilized, quirky props, Kyd portrays the Devil's wiles and guiles in all their facets.  He creates a Devil that is by turns genteel, seductive, ominous, cranky, and ultimately despairing. The intimate stage at the Arts Workshop helps intensify your 80-minute face-to-face with Mr. Satan.

In the hands of Kyd and director Lise Bruneu, this is a play that will make you think. Long after the lights go out you will still be considering aspects of good and evil, God and the Devil, faith and despair, hope and humanity's role in wickedness through the ages.

And perhaps the best part of The Devil in His Own Words is you don't have to sell your soul or engage in any other kind of Faustian bargain to enjoy a night of thoughtful theater. It will only set you back 15 bucks. Any sympathy you later show the Devil is optional.

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