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W.S. Jenks & Son

Remaining Performances: (tickets available here)

Thursday, July 16 at 8:15 p.m. Saturday, July 18 at 9:45 p.m. Sunday, July 19 at 4:45 p.m. Friday, July 24 at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m.

They say: Esteemed Guest, you have been invited to PhD student Terrance Hinton’s Thesis Presentation! Come and listen to the latest and greatest on parallel universes. There will be a demonstration you won’t want to miss.

Rachel’s take: Billed as “a game directed by Will Jennings,” When We Grow Up isn’t actually a thesis presentation for very long, though as you come in consummate nerd Terrance (played by Trevor Scott) engages the audience in clever, improvised science-babble. What the show is I won’t spoil, except that you (yes, you) will be expected to draw and to justify the value to society of several professions to which you’re assigned.

It’s more fun than it sounds — the audience members around me really liked the drawing part, surprisingly — and the helper-actor-facilitators of the game have amusing one-note characters to play, particularly shy Danny P. (Tyler Frech, I think—the program just lists an ensemble.) I’m not sure why, but another ensemble member (Alex Burns) was among the audience, live-tweeting, taking pictures, and saying that his friends had all abandoned him here and he wasn’t a theater guy.

Matthew Schott is clearly having a marvelous time as thesis advisor Dr. Verruckt and the scornful, supercilious judge (you’ll see). The cast’s youthful enthusiasm and the very high-school-auditorium space work together well; the effect is like a slightly wackier, junior version of dog & pony. As in, much of the show is what you and your fellow audience members make it. Until the resolution, which seems awfully easy and awfully like it’s the same each time. The stakes just go away, basically.

Anyway, it’s fun and unexpected, and if you go with friends you get to make fun of each others’ drawings. Yay Fringe!

(A note about W.S. Jenks & Son — it is a hardware store, and you go in the hardware store entrance. Ask at the front counter and they’ll show you the way into the theater. Google Maps advised me that it would be closed when I got there, but audience members seemed to be shopping on the way out. Oh, and don’t sit in the middle aisle, your view will be blocked.)

See it if: You want to be part of the show, even a little.

Skip it if: Actors coming into the audience is your nightmare.

Image courtesy of Critical Point Theatre