Arts Desk

The Source Festival: What I Learned

Walking out of the Source Friday night, I was wondering what the hell I had just sat through. I'd just seen the artistic blind date Collapsing Silence, more of a work of performance art than a play. It seemed pointless. I was confused at every point of the performance and I don’t think I was alone. There were dueling monologues about Judaism, Christianity, and atheism. There was a slow dance to a scene from the audio of an unidentified film. They mentioned tsunamis? God was involved? God is dead? God is inside of us or something? The talk-back provided no explanation and that was intentional. So, while I sat through something like a Tool video, I realized, this is what the Source Festival is all about. You may not understand or even like what you see, but it’s evident that new things are happening.

The set-up of the artistic blind dates sounds like the beginning of a joke: A dancer, abstract painter, and theater director walk into an all-white room. While it sometimes can reap unintentionally funny outcomes, it mostly gives the audience a glimpse into the creative process, something that’s not very common among local theater. Some of the experiments were awful and others were intriguing. The highlight was Adjusting the Volume, 30 minutes of art that didn’t seem to care if it was art.

The 10-minute plays could easily comprise their own festival. Of the two programs at this year's festival, Lovers & Friends has the most highlights. You're never stuck watching something you don't like for too long and most of the time, you wish things would keep going.

Among the full-length works, I most enjoyed The Making of a Modern Folk Hero. Spacebar featured an excellent performance from Jared Murray and Volcanic in Origin exposed me to the wonderful writing of Gregory Hischak. The festival consisted entirely of new or recent work: You were just as likely to see a performance about police brutality as you were to witness two balloons falling in love. If anything, variety is the theme. The Source Festival runs another two weeks. Each performance has at least one highlight and most are worth the price of admission.

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  • Raven

    There are three ten minute play groupings, not two - just wanted to throw that out there.

  • Jason

    I was also at the performance of Collapsing Silence on Friday night. Your review is unintelligent and juvenile. You make no attempt to speak about the work artistically and judging from your other reviews of the Source Festival, would do much better writing reviews for Car and Driver Magazine. It wouldn't hurt your ability to be an arts writer if you made an attempt to make it look as if you knew anything about the arts. I found the project to be provocative, intellectual and daring. There is not much performance art of this type happening in DC which might be another indication of why people, such as yourself, have no idea how to talk about it.

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