Mitchell Hbert is directing The Illusion with Forum Theatre. Of the plays… (Clinton Brandhagen/Forum…)
Marty Lodge has something really cool to say, except he’s not allowed to say it.
“I’ve been sworn to secrecy,” he said.
Okay, fine, he will say one thing: “I’m going to be on ‘Mad Men’ next week.”
On Sunday night, “I play a freelance art director who they’ve brought in to help them pitch this big client,” he said, which was a great answer — but I was hoping he would be a little more vague.
“Is it Jaguar?” I want to know.
He caved. “Yes, it’s Jaguar.”
Some secret-keeper, that Lodge.
His scene takes place in the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce office, he said. “We were all just in one of the conference rooms, throwing ideas around, piling up garbage and cigarette butts.”
“Who is ‘we’?” I asked, because this is real investigative journalism.
“I did get to work with Jon Hamm, John Slattery and Christina Hendricks.”
Jon Hamm! Tell me more.
“Hamm is even better-looking in real life,” Lodge said, a statement that defies belief.
He was done divulging. “I had to sign a waiver form that said if I ever talked about it, they would kill me.” This is “a little over the top,” he added, “but it seems to work.”
Hopefully Lodge will not be murdered because of this article, because not only will he be starring in Round House Theatre’s “Double Indemnity,” but, in the middle of the run, he’s getting married.
Lodge, who has done more than 30 plays with Round House, will wed at the place where he met his fiancee, actress Ellen Karas: Arena Stage. The two starred in a 2007 production of “The Heidi Chronicles.”
Though he lived in D.C. for 13 years, Lodge, 52, is now based in L.A., something that proved useful for his “Double Indemnity” role. His character, an insurance agent living in Los Angeles in the 1930s, gets so good at thinking like a criminal that he becomes one. Film-noir-esque murder and sexy mayhem ensue.
“When I first moved [to L.A.], I was fascinated by these ’30s and ’40s crimes, like the Black Dahlia,” Lodge said. Almost all the locations mentioned in the play “are within two miles of where I’m currently living,” he said. “I know exactly where all these people are. I can picture it in my head.”
May 30-June 24, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, www.roundhousetheatre.org, 240-644-1100.
David Snider joins Arena
David Snider is joining Arena Stage as director of artistic programming. Currently the producing artistic director and chief executive of the Young Playwrights’ Theater, Snider will take charge of Arena’s artistic development department in July, overseeing the American Voices New Play Institute, casting, dramaturgy and audience enrichment.
“I think he is the right person at the right time for Arena Stage,” said Artistic Director Molly Smith.
Snider, selected from a national pool of 70 applicants, said he’ll focus on “finding who Arena is in this new space [and] building an even stronger network of local and national artists who feel like Arena is a home base for them. . . . As we move forward, what is Arena in the 21st century?
“Arena’s been on my radar a long time,” he said. “Zelda Fichandler [a co-founder and longtime artistic director at Arena] was my mentor during graduate school at NYU, so joining Arena Stage feels like a kind of homecoming to me.”
He’s come a long way from his theatrical debut at age 5 — a pretty impressive gig, considering the kindergartner landed a part in a high school play. “I was a doll that came to life,” he said, in a play whose title he can’t recall. “I just remember the lights coming up on my face. . . and that was it for me. I was hooked.”
A field trip to hell
Tom Prewitt is headed south. Literally. He’s driving through the mountains, en route from Boston to Washington after his son’s graduation from Tufts University. And he’s directing American Ensemble Theater’s “Bobby Gould in Hell,” David Mamet’s field trip to the underworld.
Prewitt knows what you imagine when you visualize hell: the devil with that Lucifer leer on his face and an American Gothic pitchfork in his hand.
“You’re talking about puncturing preconceived notions of what it’s like to be in hell,” Prewitt said. In the play, the Interrogator enters “dressed in fishing garb. That’s not your typical notion of Satan’s day off.”
Bobby Gould is put through the judgment wringer as the Interrogator determines whether he deserves damnation or salvation. Bobby’s effort at self-defense goes something like, “I’d say, grading on a curve, I was a straight B-minus sort of a guy.” His ex-girlfriend is called as a prosecuting witness. “I think that’s when Bobby essentially knows his goose is cooked,” Prewitt said.