There’s no stage, and it does not take place in a theatre. There are no actors, or at least none that can be seen. There is no set and there are no costumes, save those in the audience’s imagination. The whole experience is just 20 minutes long. Still, “One Moment Now” is an artistic experience that should not be missed.
…an artistic experience that should not be missed.
The soundscape production by Dublin-based Murmuration is making its North American premiere through Washington’s Irish contemporary arts company Solas Nua. It takes place in a row of window seats at the Baker’s Daughter café in the downtown Eaton DC hotel. On arrival, attendees are handed headphones and asked to select one of four seats. (Tickets are free for the various daytime seatings, but reservations are required due to space limitations.)
Between the participant and the view of a busy but nondescript section of 12th Street is a paper bag containing a large handful of whole coffee beans. Over the course of the production—a combination of storytelling, voice acting, and guided meditation—these beans and these voices lead the participant to insights on life and aging, the vagaries of memory, and the challenge of sitting in silence in an era of constant distractions.
Solas Nua specializes in site-specific theatre, and the Baker’s Daughter space is ideal for “One Moment Now.” The window seating, facing away from the main seating of the coffee shop, allows for intimacy and contemplation while retaining the feel of a bustling shared space. The ambient noise—other patrons, clanking cups—is not a distraction; rather, it deepens the experience.
The pairing of Solas Nua with Murmuration is ideal. Like its American counterpart, Murmuration designs works for specific non-traditional spaces, very often “third places” like bars and cafés. Solas Nua says its partner creates “rich, intricate soundscapes with the aim of fostering new ways of listening in our audiences” to bring about “big-hearted close listening,” and “One Moment Now” does exactly that.
I entered Baker’s Daughter with earbuds in and thoughts percolating about my agenda for the rest of the day. Less than half an hour later, I exited with a clear and expanded mind. Turning back out onto the busy midday street, I noticed other coffee shop patrons busily tapping away at keyboards, grinding through another weekday. I hope some of them took the time to visit Murmuration’s quiet world across the dining room, and recommend that you do, too.
Running Time: Approximately 20 minutes.
“One Moment Now” runs through September 1, 2023 at Eaton DC’s resident coffee shop Baker’s Daughter, 1201 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005. Tickets are free but registration is required. To register, click here.