Best Environmental Staging - 2009
The Hot L Baltimore
There couldn't have been a better setting for this textured, nostalgic play than the cozy, elegantly proportioned lobby of the more-than-century-old Barth Hotel, or a script better suited to the environmental approach chosen by director Terry Dodd. The playing area brought out the intertwined passions and emotions of the script and, because it was no brighter than the rest of the room, eliminated the separation you usually feel from the actors. As the title implies, the play is set in a hotel, and occasionally a genuine Barth resident became part of the action, walking through the scene or jumping up and applauding at a resonant moment. The production shimmered with history. Dodd had staged it here seventeen years earlier, and two of the actors from that version were on stage for this one: Judy Phelan-Hill and Patty Mintz Figel. No other local director possesses Dodd's understanding of place and its effect, and his Hot L Baltimore enlarged our sense of what theater is and the subtle, intriguing ways in which it speaks to us.