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  Occupant at Theater J


Theater J
1529 Sixteenth Street, NW Washington

Step inside the genius of sculptor Louise Nevelson. Facts are in dispute and words are in question in this late-career masterpiece by multiple Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward Albee (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, A Delicate Balance). A little Jewish girl from Russia immigrated to the US and became the renowned sculptor, Louise Nevelson. In Albee's Occupant, she's been invited to participate in an interview - from beyond the grave. Through her ups and downs, her contradictions and evasions, we witness the deep inner turmoil and intrepid triumphs of one of the 20th century's greatest artistic minds. Starring audience-favorite Susan Rome, this surprising, touching, and delicious play is an unabashed exploration of how a pioneer for free-thinking women everywhere found her voice.

Thru - Dec 8, 2019

Box Office: 202-777-3210

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  Occupant Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Washington Post - Recommended

"...How do you channel the essence of an artist as distinctive as Nevelson without resorting to the showbiz equivalent of a photocopy? For Andonyadis, it's not that different from how she prepares for any stage production. The trick, she says, is "to figure out how we're constructing the world of our play," without "reproducing or re-creating, or retreading something that's been done before.""
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Celia Wren

BroadwayWorld - Recommended

"...Theater J's latest show, Edward Albee's Occupant, explores these themes through the life of the late Great American Sculptor, Louise Nevelson (born Leah Berliawsky). Staged as a post-mortem interview, Occupant introduces the audience to this remarkable, complicated woman some thirty-odd years after her death, reflecting on her legacy and the questions that still remain about her fascinating and messy life."
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Rachael Goldberg

DC Metro Theater Arts - Recommended

"...Together Rose and Martin are a terrific team-delightfully testy at first, then taking us steadily into painful territory almost too personal to hear, finally exuding the kind of camaraderie one finds between two fine stand-up comics."
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John Stoltenberg

MD Theatre Guide - Highly Recommended

"..."Occupant" is a moving meditation on what it means to be many things-a woman, a Jew, a Russian, then an American, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a joy, a disappointment, a lover-and all bound up in the overarching identity of Artist. Frankly, as enjoyable as it is watching The Man's discomfiture, he's almost unnecessary-this is Nevelson's story and she dominates."
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Mary Ann Johnson

Theatre Bloom - Highly Recommended

"...The compulsions that drive an artist to fame, and the nebulous line between truth and created persona, animate Edward Albee's Occupant, directed by Aaron Posner, which opened last night in a sharply mounted production at the Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater at the Edlavitch Jewish Community Center (Theater J). The play's conceit is that the late, "great" sculptor Louise Nevelson returns from the dead for a posthumous interview that explores her transformation from a young Russian-Jewish immigrant into an acknowledged (and highly flamboyant) master of her chosen art. "Do facts mean anything to you?" asks the interviewer, as Nevelson emotively recounts the turmoil and triumphs of her life, weaving evasions and deliberate "mis-remembering" into her iconic self-characterization, like the colorful strands in her exotic, if slightly worn, attire."
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DCTheatreScene - Somewhat Recommended

"...The revelations come courtesy of Occupant, a post-mortem bioplay, in which an interlocutor (Jonathan David Martin) turned inquisitor takes Nevelson through her adventuresome life, from her birth in what is now Ukraine to her settlement, at four and a half or six, in Rockland, Maine. Her father works his way to prosperity; the family is assimilated, or not - accounts vary, and Louise is an unreliable narrator. Louise gets a job at a local law office and there meets a member of the Nevelson family. He's married, but eventually she finds a member of the Nevelson family who is not, and she marries him, for money. Unhappiness ensues. The first Act ends."
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Tim Treanor

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