Review: Source Festival 2017: ‘Exquisite Depths’: Artistic Blind Date

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One of the elements of the Source Festival 2017 is two Artistic Blind Dates. These collective creations bring together area artists from different disciplines to devise an original performance piece.

Promotional Photo courtesy of Source Festival.

After ten years of Source Festivals, I experienced my first Blind Date last night: Exquisite Depths, a 20-minute, three-person poetic drama exploring the murkiness of depth-psychology.

The creators (and performers) are Kylos Brannon (filmmaker and motion graphics designer), Jennifer Clements (playwright and poet), and Tracey Erbacher (director and artistic director). They sync their talents well, creating an interesting piece of performance art.

To say that an Artistic Blind Date is as much about the process as it is about the product might be an exaggeration.

In an actual blind date, the chances of finding the right chemistry are astronomical. Fortunately, when the chemistry is toxic, a dater can arrange for a friend to call after the first 20 minutes with a claim of an emergency appendectomy: “Sorry, but I have to leave to take my friend to the hospital.”

Unlike an actual blind date, however, in a Source Festival Artistic Blind Date, the arranged romance is preordained: a child will be born five months after the first meeting. No emergency surgeries can save you.

Fortunately, for the team of Exquisite Depths, the chemistry, though not-off-the-wall-holy-fuck fabulous, is more than adequate: the child produced has enough life to produce a conversation about the whole idea of collective creation.

And that, it seems, is the main intent behind Artistic Blind Dates.

At the heart of Exquisite Depths is the interaction between an experimental psychologist and her patient, on the one hand, and the projected images of her patient’s unconscious mind on the other.

The concept holds a lot of promise, as the video projections are (as we learned during the discussion) improvised motion graphics, which means that Mr. Brannon uses existing feeds to create a new set of narratives for each performance.

Given the fact that the production also had audience participation, with audience members contributing text to the event, in the form of their own memories, if the team’s script had had an improvisational element as well, the trifecta might have been wonderful.

A lively discussion followed the performance.

So if you would like to learn a little about collective creation, Exquisite Depths is for you.

Running Time: 35 minutes (performance and discussion), with no intermission.

Exquisite Depths plays through June 24, 2017, at The Source Festival performing at Source – 1835 14th Street, NW, in Washington, D.C. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111, or purchase them online.

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Robert Michael Oliver
Poet, Performer, Theatre Artist, Playwright, Educator, Writer--Robert Michael Oliver, Ph.D., has been involved in the DC arts scene since the 1980s, when he co-founded The Sanctuary Theatre in the old sanctuary of Calvary United Methodist Church. Since those fierce days in Columbia Heights, he has earned his doctorate in theatre from University of Maryland, raised two wonderful children, and seen more theatre as a reviewer over the last two years than he saw in the previous thirty. He now co-directs, along with his wife Elizabeth Bruce, the Sanctuary's Performing Knowledge Project, which organizes a host of writing and performance workshops, plus Mementos: Poetry and Performance for Seniors, a yearly literature-in-performance Fringe Festival show, as well as Performetry--a monthly poetry and prose performance event at DC's community arts & culture center BloomBars.