Rorschach Theatre’s explosive new season immerses audiences in things new and reimagined. For over twenty years the award-winning and nationally recognized company has been known for its bold use of theatrical space and its dedication to impossible fantastical realism.
The season begins with Kate Hamill’s DRACULA, A FEMINIST REVENGE FANTASY, REALLY – a new adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic. The site-specific production will take place in the century-old, now vacant firehouse on the campus of the historic Parks at Walter Reed Hospital. In the spring and summer, Rorschach will present two world premieres: Julia Izumi’s playful riff on The Little Mermaid, SOMETIMES, THE RAIN SOMETIMES THE SEA, and James L. Rogers’ 90s indie rock fantasy, ANGEL NUMBER NINE.
In October, Rorschach launches DISSONANT CITY, A PSYCHOGEOGRAPHIES PROJECT which will unfold in monthly installments. Blowing past theatre walls, this season-long immersive experience follows more than a century of DC music history and explores what it means to be immortal.
DISSONANT CITY: A Psychogeographies Project
Created by Kylos Brannon, Adam Ferguson, Jenny McConnell Frederick, Navi, and Jonelle Walker
October 2022 – July 2023
Seven Chapters. Seven Locations.
Beyond the bureaucracy and marble columns, there’s a steady beat that drives the Nation’s Capital. Dive into more than a century of DC music and find out just what it means to be immortal in Rorschach’s latest groundbreaking event.
Like the previous two Psychogeographies projects, DISSONANT CITY harnesses the power of the built and the natural world to create a visceral piece of immersive storytelling. Each month participants will receive a map and instructions to travel to a new curated location in the DC area. Along with the map, they’ll receive a box of artifacts to explore at each site with story elements such as letters, music, souvenirs, or photos.
From October through May, each box reveals a new location and a new chapter in the ongoing story. This psychogeographic adventure culminates with Angel Number Nine in the summer of 2023.
WHAT IS PSYCHOGEOGRAPHIES?
“Rorschach Theatre has hit the jackpot with this innovative form of art, incorporating literature, music, mystery, romance, and DC’s highlights and history, all steeped in a hope for a better world.” -DC Theatre Arts
Launched in 2020, the Psychogeographies Projects are Rorschach Theatre’s visionary new experience that takes participants to unexpected locations around their city while a season-long fictional narrative plays out over layers of history and magic realism. Subscribers receive a box in the mail monthly that includes a new Chapter in the story, each box containing hand-crafted objects – letters, drawings, souvenirs, photos, or even snacks – and a map to a location in their city. Rorschach’s live in-person summer show culminates the experience.
A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really
Adapted by Kate Hamill
Directed by Rebecca Rovezzi
October 14-November 6, 2022
The Firehouse at The Parks at Historic Walter Reed
“When the ruling class write history, the words of the common people, of women – become Superstition” – Hamill’s Dracula
Kate Hamill boldly reimagines Bram Stoker’s classic tale of vampires and finds new monsters just beneath the skin. The gothic tropes of villains who wear evil on their sleeve and damsels in distress are replaced by all-too-human monsters and ferocious women who stab at the heart of the patriarchy itself. A site-specific production, DRACULA will perform in the appropriately haunted atmosphere of the now vacant/historic firehouse at The Parks at Historic Walter Reed.
“The world women inhabit in this loose, rollicking adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel is frightening precisely because it’s not so different from our own… It scares us not with monsters, though it certainly has those, but with the sinister prospect of women’s dehumanization at the hands of men empowered by law and intractable custom. Hamill’s “Dracula” is about the expectation that women will bend themselves to the rigid frame of ladylike behavior, no matter how it deforms them.” – NY Times
KATE HAMILL is an award-winning actor/playwright who is deeply passionate about creating stories that center around complicated women. Her work as a playwright celebrates theatricality, often features absurdity, and closely examines social and gender issues – as well as the timeless struggle to reconcile conscience/identity with social pressures. Hamill was named 2017’s Playwright of the Year by the Wall Street Journal and was one of the 10 most-produced playwrights in the country.
SOMETIMES THE RAIN, SOMETIMES THE SEA
By Julia Izumi
March 24 – April 16, 2023
Atlas Performing Arts Center
Once upon a time, a rain cloud fell in love with a human. Dolan, who bears an uncanny resemblance to author Hans Christian Andersen, tries to tell this simple and sweet story, but characters in the story keep turning into figures from Dolan’s own history of turbulent relationships. An adaptation, a reimagining, and a critique of The Little Mermaid, SOMETIMES THE RAIN, SOMETIMES THE SEA is a story of romantic, obsessive, and unrequited love.
JULIA IZUMI is a writer, performer, and educator who makes plays, musicals, theatrical nonsense, and everything in between. Her work has been developed and presented at MTC, Bushwick Starr, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Barn Arts Collective’s Hamilton Project Residency, NNPN/Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights’ Workshop, BMI’s Librettists Workshop, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Trinity Repertory Company, CAATA’s National Asian-American Theatre ConFest, and Corkscrew Theatre Festival. Honors for her work include O’Neill Theater Center’s NPC Finalist, Kilroys List Honorable Mention, and KCACTF’s Darrell Ayers Playwriting Award. She is a 2019-2020 Clubbed Thumb Early-Career Writers’ Group member, a 2020 New Georges Audrey Resident, and a New Dramatists resident playwright.
ANGEL NUMBER NINE
Adapted by James L. Rogers III and Jenny McConnell Frederick from the novel by James L. Rogers III
Directed by Jenny McConnell Frederick
July 2023 / Location TBA
When Angel meets Cupid in a bar and her band gets an opening slot on a tour, life takes some unexpected turns into a past she tried to leave behind. Part rock show, part booze-soaked road trip through the dive bars and dark clubs of the late 1990s east coast music scene, Angel Number Nine shows us that the things we need are sometimes found on the roads we tried to avoid.
ANGEL NUMBER NINE will serve as the culmination of 2022/2023 Psychogeographies project DISSONANT CITIES. The show can be appreciated with or without participation in the seven-chapter, year-long project.
OTHER EVENTS IN 2022/2023
MAGIC IN ROUGH SPACES: May 2023
Three playwrights, selected from a competitive national open call, collaborate with DC-based actors, directors, designers and dramaturgs to develop three new plays.
KLECKSOGRAPHY: February 2023
Rorschach leads a partnership with six theatres for 50+ emerging artists to benefit from mentorship and networking opportunities when they create 12 new plays in 10 days.
FIGHT CAMP: Summer 2023
Rorschach’s stage combat training program, led by our resident Fight Choreographer Casey Kaleba offers classes for all levels of experience.
ABOUT RORSCHACH THEATRE
Jenny McConnell Frederick and Randy Baker, Founding Artistic Directors
Through uncommon uses of environment and intimate passionate performances, Rorschach Theatre seeks to lure its audiences beyond the limits of ordinary theatrical experience so that they may discover new elements of their own humanity.
Rorschach Theatre tells stories that allow for innovative design and visceral performances. The company treats productions as “installations” that surround the audience with the world of a play. The work centers on the intersection of magic or impossible moments and every day human experiences. Without proselytizing, it provides a complex, intellectual catalyst for self-exploration of challenging subjects.
Rorschach is also a vital launching pad for emerging artists. By trusting early-career actors, directors, playwrights and designers with substantive artistic responsibilities, and surrounding them with established professionals and ample resources, the company has become an essential showcase for new talent. In addition to its regular season, Rorschach produces “Magic in Rough Spaces,” an annual new play development series; “Klecksography,” an annual new artist development event (for actors, local playwrights, and directors); and “Fight Camp,” a stage combat training program held every summer.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Rorschach completely reimagined the theatre’s role in the community and its application of available resources and through that process forged a groundbreaking new program called “Psychogeographies”. These season-long immersive narratives take participants to lesser-known spots around their city as a story unfolds through letters, artifacts, and objects mailed in monthly chapters. Each Psychogeographies Project culminates with a live, in-person production.
The Helen Hayes award-winning Rorschach Theatre has produced more than fifty plays seen by tens of thousands of people in the Washington area. The company has been recognized more than a dozen times by the Helen Hayes Awards; won a Mary Goldwater Award; been a finalist for the Mayor’s Arts Award; and has been the recipient of multiple grants and awards from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. The company’s work has garnered the attention of The New York Times, The Washington Post, American Theatre magazine and National Public Radio, as well as countless local publications.
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