Have you ever thought that the unbearable burden of being just wasn’t funny enough? Then allow The Indian Ocean Theatre Company to brighten up your existential crisis with In to the Out Side / D.C. al Coda, a wryly thoughtful piece written and directed by John Sowalsky.
Atmospheric lighting and a minimalist set (designed by Sowalsky and Jon Shapiro respectively) set the mood for this fantastic exploration replete with Beckettian pauses. Sowalsky’s soundscape mixed realism and dreamlike music to great effect when it could be heard over frankly outrageous noise pollution from the Baldacchino bar. (Both lights and sound also emerged unscathed from a freak power outage just before the show began.)
Live theater is, by nature, subject to the whims of fate, but as IOTC has demonstrated beautifully, setbacks don’t have to torpedo the production. Elizabeth Heir, who should have been playing the character Two, suffered a knee injury just before opening night. Unable to physically go on, Heir instead voices Two while director John Sowalsky performs comical choreography by Sarah Frances Williams.
Though obviously not part of the original vision, splitting the character Two into two people actually worked to the show’s advantage. Listening to Heir’s passionate voice (you can hear all of the the hard work that went into this) while Sowalsky clowns and pantomimes, creating an eerie and unsettling effect. It also highlights the push-pull of independence and interdependence, a major theme of the work.
Honestly, if the change hadn’t been announced, I probably would have chalked it up to Absurdist theatre, The Indian Ocean Theatre Company’s specialty.
Cassandra Redding shines as B, the denier to Two’s believer. B won’t even admit to having a body, much less using it, but Redding’s clowning experience certainly shows in her exuberant and spot-on physicality. She’s clearly adapted marvelously to her new stage partner.
by John Sowalsky
at The Shop – Fort Fringe
607 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
Details and tickets
Seating for this show is in the round and includes an upper-level balcony row. While every vantage point is sure to be interesting, not all views are created equal: the balcony provides a unique fishbowl-view, but some detail is lost in translation.
Veteran Fringers Indian Ocean Theatre Company exemplify grace under pressure and the ability to roll with the punches which makes live theater so exciting. Rising above technical snafus and adapting on the fly to an unfortunate injury, The Indian Ocean Theatre Company produces a witty and thought-provoking masterpiece in In to the Out Side / D.C. al Coda.