“Within each of us lies uncharted secrets. Beyond us drifts an unknowable universe…” thus begins lost&SOUND, a 35-minute Artistic Blind Date inspired by one of the full length plays currently featured at the festival, Static by Tom Horan.
Static tells the story of Emma, a young woman who finds herself uncovering startling secrets about her deceased neighbors. While both works heavily center around secrets, viewers of Horan’s play shouldn’t assume that lost&SOUND is any form of an adaptation or retelling.
As part of the project, nine artists from different disciplines collaborated on the Artistic Blind Date performances. Lost&SOUND brings together Francesca Chilcote, a teaching artist at Encore Stage & Studio who specializes in physical theatre and comedy; Veronica Lancaster, a sound designer who currently serves as Associate Technical Director at Georgetown University’s Davis Performing Arts Center; and Maverick Lemons, a professional dancer, instructor, choreographer, and founder of the dance company Moves MLDP.
Entering the upstairs performance space, audience members are handed a bright envelope and told not to open it until instructed to do so. The space is small and intimate but bright – there’s no hiding here, from either the performers or your fellow audience-members, and that’s probably the point.
The stage centers on several opposing themes like “revelation” and “release” versus “isolation” and “hiding” and our journey between the two when we keep secrets. The interpretation of what kind of secret is left up to the audience member. It’s up to us to decide whether the secrets we keep from others or the lies we tell ourselves do more damage to our lives.
The interpreted message overall is that by releasing those lies we can find a sense of freedom. While Francesca Chilcote does a great job vocalizing this process and Veronica Lancaster adds incredibly-important technical aspects to this piece, it’s Maverick Lemons who really stands out in this performance.
He moves with grace and poignancy, symbolizing the incredible torment that can come with holding onto pain and secrets. In the end his triumph is infectious – he embodies joy and freedom in such a way that makes you feel lighter inside by witnessing it.
When the time comes to open our envelopes and reveal the secrets inside there is a beautiful sense of happiness and lightness. I only wish we had been given the opportunity to share a secret of our own; that was a point the performers didn’t fail to address.
Afterwards during a question and answer session they revealed that originally they wanted to have the audience write out a secret to share, but ultimately decided that might make some people feel uncomfortable.
While denied the chance to share a personal secret of our own, the meaning of the performance isn’t lost on viewers. One remarked “how alone we are with our thoughts and fears” but everyone agreed when another concluded how important it is that we undergo a “gradual overcoming of shame” in relation to what we keep hidden.
Chilcote revealed, “We wanted to focus on the dark and light side of secrets,” to which another audience member observed how well the actors showcased the potential fluidity between the two throughout our lives.
All of the creators expressed a hope that the audience will walk away from lost&SOUND with a similar feeling they have while performing it. Lancaster explained that before beginning the four month process to create the piece the three of them had a “share session” to deepen their connection.
Chilcote revealed that she’ll be “walking away with a better grasp of the collaborative process,” as will Lemons, who added “as creators we’re all the authority of our own framework, sitting back allows you to be more open to the ideas of others.”
The performers’ openness to each other and trust of one another showed through, allowing the audience to build a sense of trust inside the performance space. It would have made an even bigger impact if we’d been given the option to share a personal secret or take one of the pre-written ones, but the audience will still walk away with that same sense of openness and by extension, be more willing to let go of secrets of their own in the future.
Running Time: 35 minutes.
lost&SOUND played on June 10, 2016 at The Source Festival performing at Source – 1835 14th Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111, or purchase them online. Performances continue on June 25, 2016 at 3:30 PM and 7 PM.