“The theatre community here <Washington DC> is something other cities can only dream of.” An earnest and rewarding quote pulled directly from the lips of David Ives, this year’s recipient of “Outstanding Original Play or Musical Adaptation” at the 32nd Annual Helen Hayes Awards Ceremony. Just one of 236 nominees being celebrated over the course of the evening, Ives’ statement captured the tone of the evening early on with the aforementioned quote given during his award acceptance speech.
Salomé…seductress? Salomé…femme fatale? Salomé…revolutionary heroine? South African Playwright and director Yaël Farber posits how a nameless young woman mentioned briefly in the Bible as the catalyst for the death of John the Baptist became the femme fatale of Oscar Wilde’s version of the story. By examining the biblical narrative in the context of the conquest of Judea by the Romans, Farber presents a provocative reimagining of this woman’s place in history. The result is a fascinating if flawed look at the oppression of feminine narratives in history and literature.