Everyone’s got a story to tell, but some are more engaging for their wild and woolly details, and others more for the way they are told; Cara Foran’s story falls into the second category. A guided tour through the history of her romances, both with boyfriends and with DC itself, District of Cara has the kind of easygoing openness that we can expect from a member of the local live-storytelling community. (Foran workshopped her work among them; the piece has no specific director otherwise.)
Born and raised in rural Ohio, Foran first came here to attend GW when DC was still known as the murder capital of the world. That fact duly frightened her and her family back home, since she didn’t realize that “most of that murdering was not happening to college students in Foggy Bottom.”
The District and Foran have changed a lot over the two decades since her arrival, and Foran ably recounts those changes with wit and a keen eye for detail. (One of the titles of the ‘chapters’ of the show is “Remember When There Used To Be Crack Dens Kind Of Over By Dacha?”) She traces a gentle path on a map of downtown of the dozen places she’s lived, starting in Foggy Bottom, slowly moving east, eventually crossing 14th Street (“a big deal at the time”), and finally moving to Fort Totten where she lives now. On the way, she “laid the groundwork for gentrification,” as she puts it with characteristic cheerful self-deprecation.
She is uninterested in looking beyond the ways DC changed immediately around her, and the show is stronger for her not trying to make big points about social movements or local politics; she simply observes what she has observed, and is aware of what her place has been. The most gratifying parts of her story are those where she recounts the progress of her own self-conception, happily making fun of all the ways her past self got things wrong.
The District of Cara
Written and performed by Cara Foran
Details and tickets
Though the romances she went through have their surprises and heartbreaks, none are so shocking as to make you think, “Oh, this is why this had to a Fringe show!” Instead, they are simply pleasant to hear, largely because of Foran’s truthfulness and a lack of embellishment. She lets you care about her and her ex-partners because their stories are more or less of the same kind as yours and your friends’. It’s simply a human thing, to want to know what other people have gone through.
The romantic history is the organizing principle here, but Foran wanders as she pleases into other areas of her life from family to struggles with depression, always with a preference for the humorous view of things over the serious. For example: speaking of an ex who didn’t appreciate her devotion to him and broke up with her, she says “I would’ve moved to Alexandria to be with him.” Cue another knowing laugh from her audience.
The upstairs bar at Tree House Lounge is the ideal spot for Foran to have her chat with us, casual and very DC. While no one is guaranteed the happy ending full of hope and life lessons that they might expect, nor quite anything as raucous as your typical “dating life woes” solo show, still, no one who comes to look out Foran’s little window into the District as she’s known it will be at all bored.