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The Apothecary, 1013 7th St, NW

Remaining Performances:

Wednesday, July 20th at 6 p.m.
Saturday, July 16th at 11 p.m.
Sunday July 17th at 2 p.m.
Saturday July 23rd at 6:30 p.m.

They say: “OMG!… I see you have grown from the simple seed of thought, imagination and progression into the unbelievable cloud looming over us! Find me in the light through this crazy web of chaos. I’ll be waiting. LOL. XOXO10101”.

Emery’s Take: You get used to conformity, even in such a diverse and eclectic scene as the Capital Fringe Festival. But nothing will quite prepare you for The One Body Works’s performance of I See You. No program, no cheerful and anxious host telling us to please turn off our cell phones, just a duo with red lighted noses struggling to the stage with electrical cords, playing a See N’ Say, and interacting with the audience with a Blackberry. In those first 10 minutes where no words are spoken save for a few high-pitched shrieks, the only things that come across are that this cast and crew are going to leave everything out on stage and it will be your job to figure out what that is.

At the end of the show, one of the anonymous cast members reluctantly gave some background information on the origin of One Body Works and their production. The cast are coming back from a six-week work stay at an organic farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains; they grow their own food, have limited access to modern technology and camp without running water or electricity. Some aspects of the performance are clear indications of their experience on the farm: The aggressive contemporary dance numbers that mimic the hard labor of the field; the hand puppet show that mocks our affinity for trashy TV and our overall growing dependency on technology, especially when, in one of the most poignant moments of the show, each cast member avoids physical contact because their cell phones have turned them into walking zombies. There’re also impromptu games of leapfrog and duck duck goose, a flashlight show with light saber sound effects, and a humorous make-believe game, so bring your imagination.

The tight-knit cast is a sight for sore eyes. You may never understand what’s going on on stage but you will appreciate the intensity in which it is portrayed. No elaborate effects, no lasers, no catchy songs, just a sense that nothing on stage is or has been choreographed, providing for an unpredictability that is always engaging and sometimes alarming. After having trouble communicating with each other through a flawed internet connection, the same two cast members engage in a vicious fight scene where one man ends up dead. In that moment I inadvertently made eye contact with our murderer. I quickly looked away and reached for my cell phone.

See it if: If you’ve ever lost your cell phone and thought your world was falling apart.

Skip it if: You have a serious fear of sweat.