We knew that eventually we would discover a great evening opportunity well after our Kindle e-book for the quarter had been published. It just happened, and this blog seems like a great place to make up our oversight.
An Octoroon performs Wed – Sun through June 26. Top ticket price $83.
A meaty meal and a play full of guilty laughs make for a memorable evening in Gallery Place. This is one of Washington’s most varied entertainment districts with theaters, a cinema, a giant sports venue, and dozens of bars and restaurants drawing people here on many different quests. (Metro: Archives/Navy Memorial)
Start with dinner at The Partisan. This stylish yet comfortable restaurant is kin to its neighboring butcher and deli Red Apron. As a result, the menu is liberally supplied with mouthwatering meaty dishes. The menu is organized around the type of creature at the center of the dish and further broken down into small, medium, and large. When they say large, they mean it with some of the large dishes sufficient for 4 diners. There is also a good variety of vegetarian dishes that can serve as sides to a mixed meal or as a whole meal for those avoiding meat. We know them mostly as a bar, where they shine whether in cocktails, beer, or wine. Service is friendly and helpful. (709 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004. 202-524-5322. thepartisandc.com)
Enjoy the same great ingredients without all the trappings and with significant savings by picking up sandwiches at Red Apron. There’s a little bit of seating inside, but on a nice evening, you’d do well to head across D St NW and step down the pedestrianized section at the end of 8th St NW for pleasant bench seating either north of or on Navy Memorial. Take selfies with the sculpted sailor, find your home on the huge map, or just eat your dinner then pop into Plan B (just outside the northwest curve of the memorial) for a drink before heading to Woolly. (709 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004. redapronbutchery.com)
An Octoroon at Woolly Mammoth takes on racial issues in a bunch of different ways. We open with a side-splitting monologue from an actor playing playwright Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins about his frustration at only being encouraged to write race plays. He goes on to star in and show us his adaptation of a melodrama from 1859 about a southern plantation in financial difficulty with a love story on the side. The original play went to a lot of trouble to distinguish good slave owners from bad slave owners, a concept that is offensive all on its own in 2016; then Brandon layers on more unsettling elements in the form of people playing characters not their own race by slapping on make-up and two women playing slaves who provide running commentary in contemporary language very different from how other characters speak. Somehow, though, with the wonderful acting and brilliant design, most people are finding they can overlook all that and wrestle with the fascinating question of what made someone want to put this play on stage in just this way. It made us think, and you’ll likely enjoy it too. (641 D Street, NW Washington, DC 20004. 202-393-3939 woollymammoth.net/octoroon/)
You’ll have a lot to discuss just around the corner at the bar of Oyamel. We’ve used this Mexican restaurant for dinner in other Great Evenings. The strongest suit is cocktails made with tequila and mescal. We’re still learning about mescal, and so sometimes order a sampler flight. The bartenders are great and will talk you through any of their offerings. Beer and wine are also good. There are often classic Mexican action movies on the screen. Did the show make you uncomfortable? Was it in a good way? Why does it break so many rules? (401 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004. oyamel.com)