Media Contact:   Peggy Kearns   |   tel: 571.216.5136  |  email:

Scena presents the DC-area premiere of the provocative 
drama HANDBAG, by British playwright Mark Ravenhill 

RSVP now for Press Night, Thursday, November 6 at 8:00 pm:

Washington, DC — September 24, 2014 — The Directors of Scena Theatre are excited to announce the DC-area premiere of Mark Ravenhill's Handbag as the first production of their 28th season. Artistic Director Robert McNamara will direct this bold black comedy, which addresses homosexuality, parenthood, and child neglect—in both Victorian and modern-day London. The play will run from November 6 – 30 at the Anancostia Playhouse with tickets ranging in price from $10 (previews) to $20 - $35 (full run).

Like Ravenhill's other works, Handbag is considered '"in-yer-face" theatre, a genre that is deliberately aggressive, confrontational, and provocative. Handbag centers on a pair of  gay couples' unsuccessful plans to raise a child together in late 1990s London. However, Ravenhill interweaves this plot with an imaginative pre-history of Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. Ultimately, the two worlds collide, erasing the century of so-called progress that separates them. In 1998, Handbag garnered the "Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright" for Ravenhill.

McNamara is eager to introduce Handbag to local audiences. In 2002, it was Scena that produced the DC-area premiere of Ravenhill's highly-controversial drama Shopping and F***ing at Warehouse Theatre. McNamara also considers Handbag to be a companion piece to his acclaimed, cross-dressing production of Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest from 2010: "In Earnest we explored prescribed gender roles in society and turned them on their heads. With Handbag Ravenhill does something similar. Yet, he also addresses the societal pressures of parenthood as something deemed most natural—while for many it simply is not." Another connection is that the actress Anne Nottage, who played Earnest in the 2010 production, will be one of the lead roles in Handbag

Opening / Press Night for Handbag is Thursday November 6, 2014. Press members: please RSVP to to attend or schedule an alternate date. 

Previews:  $10 on Oct 31; Nov 1, 2, 4 & 5 (Tues – Sat at 8:00 pm, Sun 3:00 pm)

Opening:  Thurs., November 6 is Press + Opening Night; 8:00 pm curtain, reception after)

Full Run:  November 6 – 30, 2014 (Thurs – Sat at 8:00 pm, Sun 3:00 pm)

Price:        $35 adults, $20 students / artists / seniors


TICKETS: Reserve Now Online


Venue:      (New Location):  ANACOSTIA PLAYHOUSE — 2020 Shannon Place, WDC 20020


Press:       All inquiries and Press Night RSVPs:


Parking:    Street parking is plentiful; the Playhouse is also accessible by Metro Green Line, Metrobuses 90 & 92 as well as the Circulator. Visit > for schedules.

Actors:        Anne Nottage, Amanda Forstrom, Gray West, Edward C. Nagel, Robert Sheire, and Haely Jardas  

Designers:  Robert McNamara (Director), Lena Salins (Stage Manager), Gabriele Jakobi (Dramaturg), and others TBD.


Discover an award-winning black comedy by England’s daring, “in-yer-face” playwright. HANDBAG follows a pair of gay couples' convoluted plans to have a child in present-day London. A second plot—a prequel of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest—parallels the first until the two worlds collide. HANDBAG bucks the belief that parenthood is a natural instinct … and shows what can go awry when it’s not. Come take a journey from 1990s sperm banks to Victorian wet nurses!

About Scena Theatre

Scena brings the best international theatre to Washington, DC and stimulates cultural exchange between theatre artists, locally and worldwide. Founded in 1987 under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert McNamara and Managing Director Amy Schmidt, SCENA produces an annual season of plays and seasonally staged readings, as well as a Workshop Series to develop new works from around the globe. To learn more about SCENA's mission, niche in Washington, or past productions, please click visit the About page or call 703-684-7990.