By Elizabeth Sherwood
Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side had its world premiere recently as part of Washington D.C.’s Round House Theatre’s 2020-2021 Reimagined Virtual Season. This taped one-woman show is one of four plays that comprise The Work of Adrienne Kennedy: Inspiration and Influence.
The play tells the story of two Upper West Side sisters, once well-thought-of authors, who have fallen on hard times. They are fighting over which one will get to tell their story.
Playwright Adrienne Kennedy’s work is in good hands with the sole performer, Caroline Clay, who tells the story with humor and intensity that keeps you gripped to the last scene. Clay was last seen in New York in The Little Foxes on Broadway.
Upper West Siders will enjoy references to local fixtures like the New Yorker Theater, an old revival movie house that was profiled in West Side Rag’s Throwback Thursday column last year. Come for the mentions of brownstones, academia, and landmarks and stay for the heightening tension and unraveling of two brilliant sisters. The play runs about 30 minutes. The Washington Post says it’s so good and multi-layered you can watch it more than once.
Though Round House Theatre is located in D.C., the play is available for streaming in your home for a fee of $15. The last day to see the play is February 28.