Review: CHRISTMAS EVE at ExPats Theatre

The production runs from March 17th through April 10th.

By: Mar. 19, 2022
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Review: CHRISTMAS EVE at ExPats Theatre
Danielle Davy in ExPats Theatre's production of Christmas Eve. Photo courtesy of the production by DJ Corey Photography.

ExPats Theatre's production of Christmas Eve is an intriguing story that displays the ever-combating viewpoints of those who want to change the system we live by and those who follow the system to fight for what they believe to be justice. In a race against time, Thomas, a law enforcement agent, interrogates Judith, a philosophy professor, under the circumstances of what he believes to be an attack involing a bomb set to go off at midnight on Christmas Eve. As time ticks, we watch Thomas dig into the mind of Judith as she simultaneously attempts to throw him and the audience off from what the truth is and what her true intentions are as a citizen of our current society. Ideas of patriotism, terrorism, and betrayal are commonly spread throughout this thriller to make the audience think of who is on the justified side of the interrogation. This performance will keep you guessing and analyzing each move made in the intellectual game of chess presented by these two characters.

Stephen Patrick Martin's performance as Thomas was both fascinating and entertaining as he displayed the dynamics Thomas went through in an attempt to crack Judith's plan. We start off with a civil and quite calm investigator who just wants to get a confession and go home for Christmas Eve. He keeps his composure even though he is possibly up against a ticking time bomb. Then, as the show continues on, he starts to become more agitated and impatient as his suspect continues to be unhelpful in the investigation. But still, he doesn't want to come off as aggressive the entire time, as it will increase Judith's reluctance to give him the information he is seeking. Acting as a true trained investigator, Martin's choices to portray this character made me see parallels in my mind of how other interrogations have been shown in the media. There seemed to be many approaches taken in an effortless way to play off of his scene partner, in an attempt to create the realistic bounds professional investigators must go through to manipulate their suspects into revealing information. I was impressed with the way Martin formulated the persona of this character, in a way that didn't just make you see him as a strict rule-following investigator, but he also gave a personality to Thomas that made his viewpoints more understandable and also made him more convincing in the head-to-head against Judith.

Review: CHRISTMAS EVE at ExPats Theatre
L-R Stephen Patrick Martin and Danielle Davy in ExPats Theatre's production of Christmas Eve. Photo courtesy of the production by DJ Corey Photography.

Danielle Davy's performance as Judith was both unsuspecting and impressive as she presented the mind games and seemingly innocent personality of this character. Throughout this performance, my mind was going back and forth both understanding Judith's ideas and opinions, but then also not agreeing with how she went about some things. Davy worked hard to show the complexity of the character and it showed.

You first assume this must be a mistake with the quiet and confused philosophy professor cooped up in an interrogation room on Christmas Eve, but as the show progresses, you realize she may not be as innocent as first perceived. Battling with Thomas' tactics to get something out of her was clearly a fair match that I was not expecting. Judith had a clear opinion of what she supported and what she was against, but Davy somehow made it possible so that we knew what she stood for, but also didn't reveal enough for Thomas to figure out what her plan was.

Davy portrayed Judith as a strong independent woman who I wanted to support, but she also had a certain depth to the character that made me question what was truly at play throughout the story. She has the clever mind to give the character all that was needed to tell the story and more, leaving Thomas and the audience on our toes as time ticks. It was thrilling to see the layers Davy gave Judith, refusing to give up against the frustrated man on the other side of the table.

Karin Rosnizeck's direction of highlighting the intensity and the importance of the differing opinions in the story was very well read. The small details that made the performance so intense and interesting were not missed, showing how carefully she worked to craft the production at hand. The work of the rest of the production team also displayed how each piece they put together in the puzzle of this show was carefully chosen. From the set pieces and props, to lighting and projections. The intentional choice of how each of these aspects were to be shown added more to the story and made it more relevant to today. If you would like to witness a production that is both thrilling and intellectual, specifically relating to today's society and political ideas, come to the Atlas Performing Arts Center to see ExPats Theatre's Christmas Eve.

Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission.

Christmas Eve runs through April 10, 2022 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center located at 1333 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002 in Lab Theatre II. For tickets, click here.

Proof of vaccination and identification, as well as wearing a mask, are required for viewing of this production.


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