2015 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Sanctuary’

A woman’s perspective on war is a powerful thing. We are often mothers, and because we can give birth, I think some of us find killing especially terrible. “I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier” plays hauntingly at the beginning of Susanne Sulby’s heartfelt solo theatre piece, Sanctuary.  In a red shirt, black dance pants, a black scarf, and a French braid, she becomes alternately a POW in Kosovo, a television correspondent, and a suburban mother. We see behind her, projected on a screen, poignant images of war—the dead from Bosnia (or is it Iraq?); Hitler giving a speech; the atomic bomb.  Using a soldier’s e-mails, the poetry of Wilfred Owen  and Rumi, and news footage, she reminds us of the heartbreaking consequences of wars which seem to happen again and again and again.

Susan Sulby in ‘Sanctuary.’

Susan Sulby in ‘Sanctuary.’

At one moment, she is a Japanese woman whose 12-year-old daughter died from atomic bomb-induced leukemia. At another, she is a prospective woman warrior, brandishing a sword and wondering what it feels like to kill. Next, she is an attentive mother, doing all the precious daily things which mothers love to do. Along with noted Director Stephen Stahl, with Sound Design by Janie Bullard and Projection Design by Olivia Sebesky, she has created a memorable exploration of what war does to us, and why peace matters.

Thank you, Susanne Sulby, for your remarkable solo performance.

Running Time: 60 minutes.

Sanctuary plays through July 26, 2015 at Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Lab II – 1333 H Street, NE, in Washington, DC. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to their Capital Fringe page.

Read the preview on DCMetroTheaterArts.


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