Medieval Madness
Medieval Madness (Photography by Mollie Tobias)

Going Out Guide: Entertainment

Going Medieval
ENTERTAINMENT What’s a good weekend without a little feasting? Each week, knights, nobles and even a few jesters congregate around a long wooden table for merriment, mead and meat. While patrons eat, actors well-versed in real medieval history work their way through a show of banter and witty dialogue. Although they revolve around a comedic plot, each performance includes an unscripted swordfight fought with weapons and armor crafted specially to emulate real combat of the 15th century. Like real dinner hall duels, the combat is entirely unchoreographed. Patrons eschew knife and fork and devour their meals with the utensils of ye olden days: their hands. To wash down the hearty, four-course meal, each adult attendee receives two tankards of ale made in strict accordance to tradition or a goblet filled to the brim with black raspberry mead from the Redstone Meadery in Colorado. And if you thought the authenticity ended at the food, think again: artisan workers built the tables and chairs by hand, the same way medieval peasantry did every time they forgot to charge their power drills. Medieval Madness; Thursdays and Fridays, 7 p.m.; Saturdays, 5 and 9 p.m.; $59 per person. medievalmadness.com

Courtesy of Bow Tie Cinemas
Courtesy of Bow Tie Cinemas

Films that go bump in the night
ENTERTAINMENT Every weekend, Bow Tie Cinema in Reston Town Center airs late-night cult classics on the big screen for diehard movie fans. Previous showings have included “Full Metal Jacket,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “The Blues Brothers” and more running late into the evening. Insomnia Theater at Bow Tie Cinema; Fridays and Saturdays, 11:30 p.m.; $5 general admission. bowtiecinemas.com

Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse
Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (Photography by Erick Gibson)

Live laughs
ENTERTAINMENT Each week, nationally touring comedians and musicians take the theater’s historic stage to strut their stuff in front of live audiences. Promoters bring in a myriad of popular performers that have ranged from Jeneane Garofalo, “Community” creator Dan Harmon and comedian and NoVA native Patton Oswalt. Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse; movies daily; live comedy shows Thursdays-Saturdays; show times and ticket prices vary. arlingtondrafthouse.com

The finer things
ENTERTAINMENT Let’s face it: jazz and cigars sound about as modern as the phrase “twenty-two skidoo.” Enter: Iris Lounge, a hangout that marries a modern nightclub with all the class of an upscale speakeasy. During the week, the lounge kicks down the doors and invites the public in for salsa Tuesdays, live jazz Wednesdays and Ladies’ night Thursdays. When the weekend comes, the lounge clears the floor for dancing set to the tune of live DJs. And tucked away in a glass enclosed room above the action is the Rocky Patel Cigar Bar, a private club-within-a-club dedicated to the art of smoking fine cigars and sipping on even finer scotch. The cigar bar is only open to members, but single-day passes can be purchased on the fly for instant gratification. irisloungenova.com

MetroStage’s ‘Ladies Swing the Blues’ ( Courtesy of Chris Banks/Metro Stage)

Get Dramatic

Metro Stage
A professional, not-for-profit theater company in Old Town Alexandria, MetroStage hosts an annual season of five plays. The company features contemporary and innovative shows, pushing boundaries and providing Northern Virginia with the very best of modern theater. At 130-seat capacity, MetroStage creates a sense of intimacy with the audience by wrapping them around a thrust stage, thereby making every seat the best in the house. Performances held Thursdays through Sundays; ticket prices vary. metrostage.org

The Hylton Performing Arts Center
The Hylton Performing Arts Center fills its 85,000-square feet with a 1,123-seat concert hall, Merchant Hall, for a full season of performances, and an intimate theater used mainly for a rotating roster of local artists and performance companies. This month’s upcoming shows include the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra’s “Latin Nights” and a dance production of “Dracula” by the Manassas Ballet Theatre. Performances/events held throughout the week; ticket prices vary. hyltoncenter.org

Port City Playhouse
Some theaters settle on safe, predictable choices. Port City Playhouse does not. Staffed entirely by volunteers, the theater puts on four thought-provoking plays per year that fall outside of the realm of standard theater performances. Performances held throughout the week; $18 general admission tickets. portcityplayhouse.org

1st Stage Theater
In 2007, three teachers collaborated to create 1st Stage Theater, as bastion for young local artists to plant the seeds of a professional life in the performing arts. By 2008, the 6,500 square foot theater had taken root in Tysons Corner. During productions, amateur actors hone their craft in front of live audiences. Weekend performances; $27 general admission tickets. 1ststagespringhill.org

NextStop Theatre Company
Though the Elden Street Players now call themselves the NextStop Theatre Company, their mission is the same: to educate and entertain audiences through the magic of live theater. This season’s shows range from “The 39 Steps”—a Hitchcock adaptation—to “Richard III” performed as if King Richard was deaf instead of deformed. Performances held throughout the week; ticket prices vary. nextstoptheatre.org

(October 2013)