I remember the old Arena Stage. Located in the midst of crisp, apartment co-ops and subsidized housing, the area of southwest Washington had languished for decades. And the Stage that had grown into one of the nation's most prominent and experimental theaters seemed sadly out of place.
The "SW Stage" is where I saw Frankie and Johnny. The entire play was confined to Frankie's one-room apartment throughout the single night on which the play takes place.
Frankie is a disappointed romantic and hopeless waitress who comes home to sit alone, staring out the window at the neighboring apartment building.
Johnny is a energetic short-order cook, just out of prison. Johnny, like Frankie has had traumatic experiences with romance, but unlike Frankie, is willing to try again.
The play made me laugh, and my heart leaped and took a backflip when the two decided to give it a chance. But just as much laughter, there was drama, and the falling in love and falling apart, simply made me cry.
That was back in 2007 with the old Arena Stage, rustic and dimunitive. Today, as Tanushri and I walked into the sparking, sun-splashed arena, we were totally blow away by both the immensity and artistic design.
So totally blown away, that we had to come back to see a show -- later in the week, we would be looking forward to our return to watch the reclaimed Broadway musical "Oklahoma."