‘I, Jack, am the Knave of Hearts’ at DC Arts Center (DCAC) by Nicole Cusick

One man, one hour, one mission: to figure out where in the world does he belong. Although B. Stanley pulled himself out of hell as Jack in I, Jack, am the Knave of Hearts, he pulled the audience right along for a wild ride.

This one-man show by John Carter depicts the journey of Don Juan out of Hell and into a theater dropped in front of the audience. He is left to find his way back into a world that was once so familiar to him. The story is a beautiful metaphor: where do we actually fit in in the grand scheme of life?

B. Stanley. Photo by Michalah Brown.
B. Stanley. Photo by Michalah Brown.

Carter, a “Jack” of all trades, but most notably a playwright and poet, first crafted the initial draft of the play and from there built the visual images and deeper levels of self-discovery for Jack to transcend. The final work is a neat one-act emotional roller-coaster for actor and director of the show, B. Stanley. Carter was also in the audience last night – which brought a brighter spirit to the audience as the whole creative team was present for the performance.

Stanley noted that one of the magical elements of performing this piece each night is that Jack takes him to different places each night. It seems to be such a unique world Stanley travels to on stage in his efforts to relive the life of a man who was banished to Hell for centuries and now fell back to earth for a chance at redemption if he can let go of the past.

Stanley relives the memories with such familiarity as they rush back into Jack’s mind, and it seemed so raw. He tells the stories of love, love loss, and the weights of the trial of life. Stanley truly embodies the experience of all of those hardships. Although he only has a sword and sheath to protect him up on stage it was his weapon in battle and his virginal woman to caress in moments of lust.

The simple staging of the piece allows Stanley to connect directly to the audience. The small performance space of DCAC is so intimate, and this personal journey grew even more intense with a house that could seat probably only about fifty patrons.

There were only a few design elements, which Stanley designed, that were accommodated in this space. Two large windows in the back wall of the space which lead to platforms that Stanley only used at the top and bottom of the piece were the only set elements. The lighting too was simple yet powerful. A red haze of light highlighted Stanley face at all time. The ending was the most impactful lighting change in the show as well as when Stanley used the windows. He emerged from them in a new light to show his clarity in this new life he is building for himself

Cater and Stanley crafted a very unique show that is universally relatable to any audience member – because we are all searching for where we fit in the grand scheme of it all.

A night at the DCAC is a unique experience. An art gallery serves as the lobby of the theatre currently featuring the exhibit, Archeo, by Joanne Kent. Audience members are encouraged to engage in the arts before the performance actually begins. It is a charming spot that features both visual and performing arts in DC.

jack image

Running Time: One hour, with no intermission.

I, Jack, am the Knave of Hearts plays through April  6, 2013 ar DC Arts Center (DCAC) – 2438 18th Street, NW, in Washington, DC. Performance are on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 7:30 pm, Matinee on Sunday, March 24th at 3:00 pm. For tickets, call DC Arts Center at 202-462-7833, or email [email protected]

Playwright John Carter on I, Jack, am the Knave of Hearts on DCMTA.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here