Just in time for the summer’s family reunion season, Theater Alliance brings you Still Life with Rocket, created and directed by Mollye Maxner. A moving (literally) comedy drama about a family reunited and coming full frontal with their past childhood, current lives, and each other (again, literally).
The story is about a matriarch, Etta Fisk, who we meet in the last chapter of her life. Etta’s adult children return home – full of kindness, self-righteousness, recklessness and fresh energy – to relive some of the childhood games of old times. This mixture of traits uncovers buried secrets and some answers that had not yet even been asked. The culmination is a perfect blend of art, movement, mystery, dance and theater that will keep your mind active for the entire time (which is important since there’s no intermission).
What separates this piece from the norm is the art – Maxner’s team puts an exceptional amount of attention into the details the scenery. Upon entrance, attendees walk through small rooms that thrust you deep into the plot, even before knowing what it all means. From an old lady sitting aimlessly, to a young woman holding tobacco and a men sitting around their lives’ vices, you’ll have more information to see than you can take in, but try hard. It also combines dance, movement, space exploration and boxing – yes boxing; the combinations are smooth though.
Like many plays, you’re likely to see some of your own life issues reflected in this piece. Etta has dementia (it’s obvious so no spoiler) and Maxner brings it so up close and personal that it won’t let you turn your head. One of the best scenes deals with Etta and her youngest son – it was memorable and gave an impression that was long lasting. At one point in anther scene, Etta chants from a distance for a long period of time – softly but consistent. Steady. It was annoying continuously, except for the for the understanding that comes with her condition. This may mirror many parts of your life.
Since the production gives facts and lets the audience transform those facts into information as it goes, some attendees may feel a bit frustrated. Others will use this as an opportunity to active their spidey skills and play puzzle maker. Either way, pay attention as much as possible and enjoy the ride.
Another interesting aspect of the performance is that the cast (heard during the after chat session) said there they are allowed certain amounts of discretion. No, the play won’t change its course (or will it?), but there is a chance that you won’t see the exact same play on different nights. From small line improvisations to a different ending set-up, Still Life with Rocket is a shooting star.
Still Life with Rocket plays through this coming weekend, July 2, 2017 at the Anacostia Playhouse (2020 Shannon Place, SE in Washington DC – 202.241.2539)
For tickets ($40 general), purchase them online. There are about 5 entry periods, within approximately 5 minutes of each other – please arrive about 10 minutes early. First entry for evening performances is 7:20pm; for matinees, 2:20pm. ——-
Monday June 26 Evening (Industry Night)
Thursday June 29 Evening
Friday June 30 Evening
Saturday July 1 Evening
Sunday July 2 Matinee