It’s celebrated performer Mikhail Baryshnikov’s first appearance on the Shakespeare Theatre Company Stage. As if that weren’t intriguing enough!
Man in a Case, an adaptation of two short stories from Anton Chekhov, weaves together snippets of video, live music and (frankly not enough) dancing to tell the humorous and despondent tales of “About Love” and “Man in a Case.” The stories are shared via late night chat between a pair of hunters. First they laugh over town “freak” Belikov, a professor of Greek and an unsociable man whose mannerisms and way of living suggest he is “encased,” though they attempt to set him up with an extroverted woman named Barbara. Do opposites attract?
The play then takes a turn — not as seamlessly as the audience might like — to the contrasting “About Love” in which the protagonist (Baryshnikov) gives up his love for a married woman. Mixed media and projected dance pieces in this portion ultimately make it the most mesmerizing.
*Man in a Case runs 75 minutes with no intermission from December 5—22, 2013 in the Lansburgh Theatre (450 7th Street, NW).
**All images credit T. Charles Erickson