We generally do not grade art on the curve, but if anyone ever deserved it, the two artists who staged this artistic blind date do. Nineteen hours before We Forget, We Never Forget was about to launch, Layne Garrett and Rick Westerkamp learned that the third member of their trio, Jessica Solomon, was pulling out of the production. They were on their own.
This development, Garrett and Westerkamp later explained, was the result of artistic differences. Artistic disagreement is certainly a reasonable and even honorable reason for ending one’s participation in an enterprise, though it’s hard to imagine why someone would jump ship so close to shore. But I wasn’t there; I didn’t hear Solomon’s version; and in the end it’s not that important. Many people, in Garrett and Westerkamp’s predicament, would have shut everything down, and I credit these artists for going forward with their best effort, however sundered.
But what about the production viewed only for itself, without regard for the unusual circumstances under which it appears on stage? It’s not bad. There’s no relationship at all between what we see and the concept of memory and forgetting that the title suggests. The show makes a gesture toward Dontrell, who Kissed the Sea, the one-act play which sounds the theme – quest – that binds the two works together, but there is no real coherent narrative which allows us to see We Forget, We Never Forget, as anything more than an intermittent reflection of any theme.
WE FORGET, WE NEVER FORGET
Source Festival at
1835 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
Running time: 15 minutes
Details and Tickets
Instead, we see that the actor and dancer Westerkamp, a person of size, is also a person of grace as he moves to the found music of the experimental musician Garrett. The musician takes a thin wire and strings it through the pan of an abandoned deli scale; miked up close and personal, it sounds as a violin might sound, if played in the middle of a hurricane. Later, Westerkamp moves bonelessly through the susurrations of sound created by Garrett’s play of the wire against a horsehair-encrusted bow. Westerkamp slips and slides and nearly falls, but he does not go backward, and so suggests the successful quest without quite taking us on one.
Mr. Westerkamp wrote some Capital Fringe reviews for DCTS a couple of years ago. This has not affected my review.