Source Festival: ‘Momentum, Interrupted’ (Artistic Blind Dates) by Nicole Cusick


Source Festival is well underway and one of the unique events of the festival are the “Artistic Blind Dates.” The first of these performances is Momemtum, Interrupted, inspired by the full length play in the Festival, Lake Untersee directed by Rick Hammerly and proves to be a unique experience literally from the moment you enter the room.

Ana Patricia Farfan. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

Ana Patricia Farfan. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

When you take the first step into the room before you can even take in anything else you hear a crack under your foot. The floor is covered with a few hundred Styrofoam disposable plates that crack under the weight of any step. The sound is bizarre but it sounds like boots on snow, after adjusting to the floor you notice the three performers around the room.

At first you notice Ana Patricia Farfán, a dancer/choreographer twitching in the corner. She is slides and dances and tries to move from her third of the room, but not seem to be able to at first. The “glaciers” in the middle of the room seem to be preventing her from doing so. After she gives in from her initial struggle Adi Stein, the theatre artist, pulls the focus and appears to be a pleasant young man ice fishing on a lake or something just writing the audience “hello” on his white sheets of paper. He is the most humorous, yet complex in the groups as his friendly messages on the pages slowly become more like SOS messages, but he never speaks to say what is wrong. Then after he gives in to the frustration for a while Megan Mueller, the visual artist starts flashing her clip lights and casting shadows of her cardboard boat which she suddenly pulls through the valley she has made out of two pyramids of cardboard.

Adi Stein. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

Adi Stein. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

From there the performance seems to unravel as some of the performers grow more confused by their situation while other seems to bask in the solitude. In the end of the piece the all end of finally in the middle of the room looking at each other for the first time in the last thirty seconds of the piece.

It was truly a unique experience to almost be apart of as the audience is not bound to one position in the room and the piece feels entirely different from all of the different sides of the room.

Even though the piece lasted no more than twenty minutes it feels like a entire story was communicated with very limited words spoken and only subtle elements linking the three performers together.

After the performance the room is opened up to a talk back. The artists share their process and how their journey together began six months ago when they were given the scripts of Lake Untersee which served as a launching point for this piece. It is interesting to hear of the different roads the piece took to get to what the final product became. One idea involved an audience member riding a bike the entire time to create a sort of pressure on them to drive and hold the performance together.

Megan Mueller. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

Megan Mueller. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

The artists also listened to a few different audience members takes on what the story of the artic performance was about and smiled just as much as they looked shocked at the different renditions. Then Stein finally confessed that all three of the artists are trying to communicate one specific thing to the audience and that one specific thing they have not even shared with each other. Thus, literally no matter where you stand and look around their ice bergs, you can walk away with a completely different experience.

Momentum, Interrupted is a unique theatrical experience and demonstrates how well different artists and mediums can blend with one another to amaze and challenge an audience. The piece also intrigues one to see the original work, Lake Untersee in the Festival as well to see a very different take on the same material.

Running Time: 20 minutes, followed by a 15-minute talkback.

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Momentum, Interrupted plays June 15 at 3 PM and June 16, 23, and 29th at 6 PM at Source Festival at Source – 1835 14th St NW, in Washington, DC. Here is more information about the Artistic Blind Dates, and other performances, in  Source Festival.

 

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