Hip Shot: A Year of Living Dangerously
Saturday, July 16, at 12 p.m.
Wednesday, July 20, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 23, at 6 p.m.
They say: “How do you survive in this crazy, mixed-up world if you’re: The #1 Mid-Atlantic Sports Fan? The child of nudists? A playwright? A polar bear?”
Catherine’s Take: Written and directed by Baltimore’s Brent Englar, A Year of Living Dangerously is a headlong dash through the spectrum of existential emotion. In under forty minutes, Englar takes the audience on an attention-deficit tour of imbalance in friendship, love and family, and the decisions that alter fate.
The standouts here are “Fireworks” and “Plunge.” Light-hearted to the core, they’re filled with realistic uncertainty that plagues efforts to connect with unknown entities. The same three actors (Elizabeth Galuardi, Britt Olsen-Ecker and Alexander Scally) are the key players in both vignettes, carrying similar personas through different dynamics (familial sparring, long-lost relatives). Galuardi’s wide-eyed enthusiasm in both roles is infectious. The audience may have never stumbled upon a missing cousin, or taken a dip in the Atlantic in January, but her ability to approach both scenarios with gusto makes them relatable: We have all struggled to bridge the gap of communication with a stranger, or attempted the ridiculous and the dangerous in the name of romantic infatuation.
Though well-acted and intriguingly staged, A Year of Living Dangerously comes off as too brief; there’s barely enough time to accustomed to each new setting (all locales within the DMV region, both present day and decades into the future). The fleeting sequence of emotions makes it hard for the audience to bond with the characters or begin to ascribe complexities to them. It feels akin to a focus group: which of these images flashing before your eyes draws a response? With a bit more room to breathe, any of these four plays could flourish.
See it if: Your attention span runs short and your patience for expository dialogue runs shorter.
Skip it if: You’re looking to get lost in a storyline; there’s no time for that here.