Bring up the issue of audience participation to theater buffs and you’ll encounter some strong opinions. There are those who think the fourth wall between audience and performers should never be breached, that actors who solicit the input of those seated before them or invite them onstage are breaking a fundamental tenet of performance: observers’ right to lose themselves in the story without being disturbed. What, then, does the obstinate anti-participation crowd make of Elephant, the performance-art piece by dancer Kelly Bond that’s currently running at Fall Fringe? With the dancers onstage gazing right at audience members and even talking directly at them, there’s no chance of losing yourself in the performance. Physically speaking, audience members aren’t asked to do much by the performers, yet the piece winds up raising tricky questions about the relationship between watcher and watched. And everyone’s buck naked—so you’ll probably be watching pretty intently.
ELEPHANT SHOWS AT 8:45 P.M. (ALSO 5:15 P.M. NOV. 6 AND 4:30 P.M. NOV. 7) AT THE SHOP AT FORT FRINGE, 607 NEW YORK AVE. NW. $15-$20. (866) 811-4111.