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Run Through the Unquiet Mind, the opening jolt of the Capital Fringe Festival’s preseason “Wattage” slate of theater “illuminating tradition and survival,” is another tale of siblings “stamped by story.” Here, the siblings are survivalist brothers living in Utah, and the story they must contend with—when one of them is sprung from jail only three years into an 11-year bit—is that he cut a deal, perhaps to inform on the militia-type organization to which both brothers seem to belong. A nonlinear narrative structure inflates the proceedings with mystery (and compensates for the lack of an ending), hopscotching among scenes of Early (Dylan Myers) in his prison cell to his reunion with his big brother True (Scot McKenzie) to their flight into a wilderness that goes all Salvador Dalí on them.
This is a “devised play,” meaning its four writers developed the script collaboratively, via a six-week process of improvisation and rehearsal. It “will continue to evolve,” promises the program, and one hopes that’s true: In its current state, this is quintessential Fringe fare, an hour-long excursion that uses an intriguing idea and flinty performances to overcome spartan production values and make us believe.
Lighting and sound designers Colin Dieck and Scott Burgess ably transform the National Museum of the American Indian’s Rasmuson Theatre into something evocative of bushlands without the use of any stage set save for a table. The story is equally unfurnished: These guys understand that mysteries are more compelling than solutions, and they milk that to their advantage, leaving the nature of True’s crime and of the organization to which he belongs ambiguous. With lesser actors it wouldn’t work, but Myers is so bilious and McKenzie so coiled that their hold on us never slackens.