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Iconicity The Shop at Fort Fringe

Remaining Performances: Friday, July 18 @ 8:00 PM Sunday, July 20 @ 6:00 PM Friday, July 25 @ 6:30 PM Saturday, July 26 @ 7:00 PM Sunday, July 27 @ 5:00 PM

They say: “Iconicity is an original show. Perhaps it’s still work in progress. I guess that comes with the nature of the material. With so many images bombarding us today, it’s hard to tell what will be considered iconic. We know we haven’t hit them all. Some of the piece originates from the photos themselves, otehr from stories told by family, friends and strangers. These were just a few that moved us.”

Dan’s take: Sixty minutes of Iconicity wraps up with lines from Walter Benjamin: “..history decomposes into images, not narrative”. Over the course of the preceding hour, we were treated to a balance of both in a production full of genuine intrigue in the play between image, memory, collective consciousness, subjective interpretation and the licence to forget. The key iconic subject matter ranged from California migrant workers in the 1930s through Iwo Jima and World War II, to political assasinations of both Kennedys and Dr King, Vietnam, the US defeat of USSR in ice hockey, Tiananmen Square, Sudan and all the way up to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. An interesting collection of iconic episodes, in the main negative. Half way through I wondered whether manifestation of communal tragedies is more amenable to iconic expression. Why not more icons of happiness, celebration (non-partisan, which might exclude the ice hockey victory) – is joy more often captured as individual testimony?

The Shop at Fort Fringe was steamy and hot on this typically roasting Washington summer afternoon. Why was I sitting behind the slide projector, emitting even more heat into the furnace? The space is acoustically challenging – and the combination of background soundtrack and narrative did not come together all the time. The cast of seven varied in performance strength, and did best when scenes called for collective theatre. There was an especially moving piece constructed around the assasination of JFK.

Lots of insights throughout and good provocative musings – how images are created, how iconic images are established, how stories and memories are reinvented and at times stolen…”pictures don’t lie except when they do”. Ultimately, I was left wondering where exactly this iconic journey had taken us and what the abiding intended message was. Maybe in the end, a reiteration of our fascination with iconic images and a reminder that context is everything and stories around images are subject to multiple interpretation.

See it if: You need reminding to think back where you were when you heard….

Skip it if: You have an aversion to warm boxes and would rather be hooting at the Pear Tarts Burlesque.