Fringeworthy

Hip Shot: A Day at the Museum

Warehouse, 645 New York Ave. NW (moved from 1019 7th St. NW, as previously listed)

Remaining Performances:

Friday, July 15, at 10 p.m.
Saturday, July 16, at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, July 20, at 10:15 p.m.
Saturday, July 23, at 2:15 p.m.

They say: "A wordless comedy set to an original orchestral score by Brian Wilbur Gundstrom. A nude woman in a painting looks out at people whose lives intersect while visiting an art museum. A playfully sexy look at love and art.”

Logan's Take: Robert Barnett’s mime act runs about a quarter short of its advertised hour. And honestly, that’s probably a good thing; any longer, and the shtick could’ve gone stale. As it plays now, 45 minutes is the perfect length for these nine actors to express themselves through movement and gesture, sans speech. Save for three dangling picture frames and one picturesque naked woman — albeit behind a minimal thread-count sheet — that’s about all, folks. No words, no spotlights, barely any props. Nada. It’s très Beckett, indeed.

Speaking of, if Buster Keaton was the ideal choice for Beckett’s Film because of his slapstick past, likewise, the best performers here in Barnett’s play are Synetic Theater vets. NoVA’s premiere physical theater troupe, DMV audiences are no doubt fluent in their tellingly-abridged Shakespeare. Of course, King Lear this one’s not, especially given Perry Schwartz’s astute direction. The spot-on gestures of consummate stage actors like Ryan Sellers, Pamela Nash, and John Milosich (who also serves as chief choreographer) make dialogue unnecessary anyway.

Much of the credit for A Day at the Museum’s success, however, has to go to Brian Wilbur Gundstrom’s striking score. It’s a curious, often intoxicating mix of chamber ensemble and electronic timbres. No mere incidental music, Gundstrom’s score works very much like a modern Wagner opera in miniature — leitmotifs letting you know not just who’s on stage, but also if they’re good or bad, happy or sad. Syncing live motion to canned music is a notoriously difficult enterprise. If I had just one wish, it would be that one day, this specific Day will get the real accompaniment it rightfully deserves.

See it if: You like what its tagline promises in earnest: “nudity, comedy, and art...set to music.”

Skip it if: You hate fun altogether.

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