Review: ‘Ephemeral Fatale’ by Area Woman

Area Woman is a group of four local DC artists who came together to premiere their “comedydramadance,” Holon!, for the 2018 Capital Fringe Festival. This August at various venues throughout DC, they presented Ephemeral Fatale, a performance piece that evokes feelings of connection, acceptance, intrigue, and the complexities of human relationships. 

Area Woman performs 'Ephemeral Fatale.' Photo by Amanda Blythe.
Area Woman performs ‘Ephemeral Fatale.’ Photo by Amanda Blythe.

The show was a creative collaboration by Claire Alrich, Sarah Greenbaum, Sadie Leigh, and Meg Lowey, with a mixture of music and movement to convey their story. In the program, Area Woman explain their mission to “create inquisitive spaces for audience-artist encounters,” by “enthusiastically exploring the role of art and imagination in community using humor, task, and tradition to elevate the mundane and make the magical tangible.”  And the performers wholly succeed with this work in an enriching personal experience. 

The performance we attended was at Right Proper Brewing Company on Girard Street in northeast DC. We were seated in the back on white benches arranged in an arc with an intimate open space and a backdrop of colorful patchwork sheets. Aside from pleasant interludes with conversation between sections of the production, dancers were quiet with only music, their breath, and the intentional subtle communication of eye contact between the audience and the artists. 

Meg Lowey performs the music which she creates from a single sound, be it her voice, a guitar chord, or a synthesized beat, and layers on more beats, harmonies, and humming until the song reaches its full ethereal evolution.

The choreography is a modern mix of fluid movement and intricate shapes and formations the ladies make with their bodies, executing with passionate intent and precision. They incorporate their costumes (designed by Alrich) into the mood of their movement, with shorts and a sheer top that could be untucked to resemble a flowing dress or wrapped around their faces as sheer masks. Different sections of dance overlap and repeat, transforming into what they aptly describe as “trust-building meta-moments” and matching Lowey’s musical accompaniment.

The ultimate purpose or theme of the work seems up to interpretation, based on individual perspective and level of interaction. There is no right or wrong impression. Still, while the nature of piece induces a very internalized reaction, the open and casual space of the presentation evokes a sense of community and shared experience, which plays into Area Woman’s goal of connecting people through art.

Area Woman’s Ephemeral Fatale is a beautifully unique show. Everyone in the audience seemed intrigued and invested. Overall, an impressive job by these four as they capture the imagination and expand the meaning of live entertainment. I look forward to seeing future projects.

Running Time: Approximately 60 minutes, with no intermission.

Ephemeral Fatale by Area Woman played from August 8, 2019, through August 17, 2019, at various venues throughout Washington, DC. For information on upcoming projects, go online.