The Mountain – Mount Vernon United Methodist Church – 900 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Remaining Performances:

Saturday, July 16th at 10:15 pm
Sunday, July 17th at 3:15 pm
Tuesday, July 19th 7:30 pm
Wednesday, July 20th at 8 pm

They say:Eager for membership to the Royal Geographic Society, two slightly loopy time-traveling Victorian women run ground breaking social anthropological experiments on willingly gathered subjects in the 21st century.

Ryan’s Take: Hey guys, guys! Listen up! You’re not going to believe this. I’ve just had the most fascinating encounter at The Mountain.

Two real-life, honest-to-God time travelers are checking out the Fringe Festival! No, really. Now, this might come as a shock, but it seems early 21st century D.C. is is gonna be at the center of some major events in future history. Cecily and Gwendolyn, a pair timeline-hopping anthropologists working undercover as actors Kelly A. Jennings and Karen Getz, respectively, have blown into town in their to record the local culture. It was an honor to be a key part of their studies.

The experience was a little disconcerting a first. Having taken blessed refuge in the air-conditioned Mountain, ostensibly to review a “play”, I sat, notebook at the ready. Suddenly I had the distinct sensation of being watched. Two hoop-skirted ladies paced around the isles, whispering to each other animatedly. As they approached, I realized the pair were studiously taking notes on everybody in the audience. This led to a very singular reviewing experience of writing notes about two women writing notes about my note-writing. They seemed especially interested in the noises made by our primitive communications devices.

So began an hour or so of giddy, effervescent fun. The two esteemed social scientists gently poked and prodded at the lives of we gathered few, searching for hidden connections between audience-mates that might shed a light on this whole “Fringe” thing. At least, that’s how the conversation went on Wednesday. Your mileage may vary depending on what company in you find yourself in at the show, should you choose to take the plunge.

It’s certainly not an experience for the shy. Cecily and Gwendolyn’s questions start off superficially and light enough, but gradually, steadily, the experience deepens. Spiritual beliefs were shared. Secret talents were revealed. One colleague in criticism demonstrated her considerable skills in Odiissi dance. By the end of the evening, the audience was conversing among themselves as much as with our two gregarious hostesses. It was kind of amazing. And the ladies absolutely shine when they turn their warm, fascinated, attention to kids, who after all only want to be taken seriously.

C & G’s scientific process lives or dies on its sample size. And Wednesday night’s gathering was tragically, vanishingly small. So grab your friends, your kids, or your friends’ kids and get on down to The Mountain. You only have a few chances to be part of intergalactic science before these lovely ladies disappear into the winds of time and space. And what kind of sourpuss would miss that opportunity? The fact that such auspicious guests have deigned to appear at the Capital Fringe Festival can only mean my long-held suspicion is true: Julianne Brienza will one day rule the Earth.

See it if: You’re looking for a unique and family-friendly Fringe experience chock full of warmth and good humor.

Skip it if: You’re dreadfully shy and/or simply can’t abide audience participation.