In a City of Monuments, History Lives Onstage and in the Streets
Three new plays at theaters in Washington explore how the past is both erased and inescapable.
Although James Ijames does not specify the setting of his new play Good Bones, it sure seems like Washington. For one thing, a character says it used to be a swamp.
That checks out; when I paid a visit to the capital last week, the summer humidity was already settling in. And hasnt Washington become, as Ijames writes of the plays locale in an introduction to the script, one of those places that is now too expensive for most people to live? It has: My older son, an elementary schoolteacher in D.C., is just squeaking by.
Well, lots of cities are wet and pricey. But when two characters in Good Bones one a new homeowner renovating a townhouse and the other a contractor intimately familiar with its former incarnations discover that they both grew up in a nearby project called Dunbar Gardens, local bells may ring. The Paul Laurence Dunbar apartments are less than a mile from the Studio Theater, where the play is running through June 18.