Update: I scooped DCist again. And it feels so good!
I haven’t had the chance to attend much modern theater: that is, a play I’ve never heard of, by someone I’ve never heard of (Abi Basch).
Rorschach pulled me in with a pay-what-you-can night on a very convenient Sunday evening. The constant rain outside just added to a play in the basement of a church centered around a flood. Tickets now are a suggested donation (gotta love that) of $15-25.
Rorschach moves around a bit, the company showing plays all over the city in different theater venues. Voices Underwater shows in the basement of Georgetown Lutheran Church (at Wisconsin and Volta) through the least intuitive door possible, as told by the guy stationed outside to direct lost audience members. Rorschach also encourages the audience to move around; you can touch any and all props, exploring your space, as long as you follow national park regulations and leave things as you found them.
Once in the church basement, expectations can’t help but drop. It’s a church basement. But once the lights go down, a fashionable ten minutes late, and the action really picks up, prepare to forget yourself.
The story centers on Emma and Franklin, a biracial couple from Ohio in Alabama on business. Taking shelter in the attic of an old plantation house, they work through some of their own issues and the issues of the ghosts of a Civil War soldier and the daughter of a Klan member, also sheltered in the rickety attic.
As the rain continues to pound, the characters realize the importance of saying what they have to say to each other (not just this noise). The audience is struck with that same realization. When do we ever really say what we want, what we feel, what we need? While we’re alive?
Not a whole lot. So do your pondering self a favor and go see Voices Underwater. The story is riveting. The acting is stupendous. The lighting and sound are utterly convincing.
I really liked it.