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Synetic Theater

Fortunately, the fall term of MBA at GWU School of Business did not kick in into the high gear yet, and I can take some time to relax without going into great bouts of stress. Even though it is going to change very soon, as the first module is almost half-way through, and I have my first deliverable this week already. So the pressure is definitely ramping up.

However, I was still able to catch the last moments of lull  this past weekend.  I went to Synetic Theater with my wife and elder daughter to watch Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Undoubtedly, the play itself lends a lot to the thriller part of the Synetic’s production. But the way they have been able to super-charge it and turn into a live high action show is truly amazing. I have been to quite a few of the theater’s shows in the last few years and I already mentioned that I am repeatedly astonished  with how they manage to bring something new in both interpretation and implementation of the classic text every time without fail.

Since Synetic is performing in the genre of physical theater, most of their performances are a fine blend of drama, music, choreography, and even acrobatics. So most of the shows are quite dynamic, but this time I was finally able to articulate to myself the catch phrase to describe it. This is the phrase I used for the post title: high-octane action-packed live thriller. And the only way to truly understand what it means is to see it with your own eyes. So you have a chance to witness this true marvel, but only till October 2nd.

True to my mind-set influenced by the MBA experience though, I had a nagging thought at the end of the show. The show had been on only since Thursday, and it was a Saturday night when I went to see it. Nevertheless the theater was filled only about half. I am aware about the problems with attracting, or rather creating new theater-goers in our time. And I am confident that Synetic attracts a lion’s share of the theater-going public in the DC area. Still I believe that given their unique unmatched talent and the genre of the physical theater in general they have an appeal and potential to attract much broader audience not only in terms of demographics, but even geographically. In my opinion, with proper marketing they should not have any trouble to fill their shows and have people scapling tickets before the shows, just like Bolshoy Opera and Ballet don’t have issues with filling the Kennedy Center on their tour to Washington, DC.

Anyways, something to think about.

My other reflections on the Synetic shows:
Othello by Synetic Theater
Synetic Theater’s ‘Antony and Cleopatra’

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Since the term had been winding down to its end, and I was basically done with all my deliverables, last weekend my wife and I had a little treat: another theater night at Synetic. I had a post back in February about this theater and their Antony and Cleopatra play.

I know it may sound ridiculous, but I think of Synetic as of “Apple” in its latest stretch of innovation from IPod in 2001 to IPad- 2010. This outlandish comparison is influenced by the Apple, Inc. case we had to work in marketing course this summer term.


It’s really funny how MBA affects the way of thinking and the view of the world. In a sense you start to look at things from a very specific and somewhat narrow perspective. Yes, it’s true that your perspective actually broadens and becomes more systematic and synthetic in everything referring to business. You gradually become able to look at business in more integrated fashion: see it from different angles, whether it is statistical analysis or ethical implications. But at the same time, you start to apply the same methods of analysis to other things, seemingly unrelated. I would put it this way: MBA broadens your way of thinking about business, but narrows your veiw of the world. I don’t say it is inherently bad. But now it makes much more sense to me that business schools try to attract diverse application pool in many regards, including professional backgrounds, undegraduate majors, phylantropic endeavors, etc. MBA program will instill the systematic approach of business thinking in the students, but it is very crucial to have something besides that. It is a sort  of checks and balances in professional business education.

Back to Synetic.  Why I compared Synetic with Apple? Because every time I come to their plays, I wonder what else can they come up with to surprize their audience? Have not they already done a great job in their last play? Can you really add something new to it? Are they going to plateau this time and just give another great performance, like the one before?

But every time I come, it’s not ‘just another great performance’ – I am utterly bedazzled every time with their interpretation of the seemingly known texts. And this time with Othello they again were able to astonish me beyond my expectation. Just like Steve Jobs and Apple with its streak of innovation of the last decade :-) .

As one critic wrote about Synetic’s Othello, “I thought they had reached the pinnacle with their last outing, Antony and Cleopatra, but clearly there’s no end to the brilliance of this company when it applies its physical theater style to the Bard. Hyperbole? Head to the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater and judge for yourself.”

I fully undersign under those words. If you are around DC area, the play is going to be on till July 3, so there is time to catch the magic.

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Lansburgh Theatre Main Entrance

Lansburgh Theatre Main Entrance

On Saturday I had a night out with my wife to watch a play ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ by Synetic Theater on Lansburgh Theatre stage  of the Shakespeare Theatre Company. If you are a theater-goer and  have a chance to see only one show while in DC, I would definitely encourage you to go to Synetic’s production. Labeled as ‘Washington’s Premier Physical Theater”, they always deliver very original eye-full and ear-full avante-guard adaptations of classical works. When I say ear-full it refers to music, as this particular play is in “Silent Shakespeare” series. A few plays of this theater that I watched have all had some breathtaking choreography and very original bold interpretations ot the source.


Every time I watched them I was finding some great ‘gemstones’ of director’s fresh interpretation of a well-known material, so I never stopped being amazed. And again, since it’s primarily ‘physical theater’ it has to be seen, not relayed in words. As a matter of fact, it’s good to brush up on the plot of the play in advance by reading the synopsis. It helped me a lot, since my last encounter with the original play was in my teens, and thus the memories became a bit rusty :-) At any rate, I got a great re-fresher with this Synetic’s adaptation.  

I did enjoy the show a lot, but now I need to get back to my MBA assignments: two cases to be submitted for Managerial Accounting and a quiz in Global Perspectives this coming week is no little matter.

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