“Flight” Lands for Studio Theatre’s Return
December 9, 2021 @ 4:00pm
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Studio Theatre is joining the list of venues to welcome audiences back for in-person performances after a nearly two-year hiatus. Its opening night on December 16 will feature, “Flight,” which offers a socially distant theatrical experience in a form that is like no other.
David Muse, the artistic director at Studio Theatre, says “this season is all about theatre in exciting scale, whether it’s telling momentous stories in innovative ways or staging big, elaborate productions. After weathering an incredibly precarious year for theatre, it feels good to welcome audiences back in a triumphant way, with a new building and a dynamic season of powerhouse plays.”
When audience members return, Studio Theatre will be in the finishing stages of its $20 million investment plan called Open Studio, which includes significant renovations to the theater’s complex in Logan Circle. The main focus of these renovations is a reengineering of Studio’s flagship theatre, renamed the Victor Shargai Theatre. The new and improved space will include 200 seats and state-of-the-art lighting, sound and projection technology.
Open Studio also includes renovation plans to transform the first floor Mead Bar and lobby area into a day-to-night cafe and bar that will be operated by woman-owned, Virginia-based RĀKO Coffee Roasters.
Although the pandemic halted progress on the project for nearly a year, Studio took advantage of its closure to complete these major renovations and start anew with its 2021-2022 season. The renovations are set to be complete in January 2022.
“The last year has felt like a suspended reality for those working in theatre,” Muse says. “But we’re slowly emerging, first with the launch of our all-digital season and now with real momentum for Open Studio. Our building is changing in dramatic ways that will invite new artistic possibilities and make it even more exciting to welcome audiences back. It’s heartening that at the end of this year of unpredictability and tumult for our field, that Studio will open its doors on a new chapter and fresh start.”
Running until March 6, 2022, “Flight” will be the first show of Studio Theatre’s comeback season. The production follows the journey of two orphaned brothers as they find their way across Europe in search of freedom and safety. This story of hope and survival serves to spread awareness about the refugee crisis and its displaced children — 300,000 of whom make unaccompanied journeys every year in their quest for stability.
“Flight” is devoid of live actors and is a completely immersive experience — one that audience members must traverse alone while sitting in a personal booth, wearing headphones and viewing a hand-crafted diorama. The set allows for 25 people to simultaneously watch the show within their own booths, meaning patrons must arrive at staggered times for multiple showings in a day.
Director Candice Edmunds of Scottish touring theatre company Vox Motus says the form in which this story is told is nearly as important as the story itself, which was based on the novel “Hinterland” by Caroline Brothers.
Because the subject matter is so heartbreaking and traumatic, the director says they nearly let go of making the show — but then they set themselves a challenge.
“We thought, what if we could make a form so intriguing or so exciting that the story was almost a byproduct? Like, you came for the form and then we snuck in our really important storytelling,” Edmunds says. “What we wanted to focus on was that really personal thing that had touched us. It’s just you and these two brothers together in a space sharing their story, and that was really the catalyst for creating a performance experience where it was just for one audience member.”
But creating something so original wasn’t easy. Edmunds says because they had to make their own path and figure things out as they went, “Flight” was one of the most “artistically, joyously challenging” productions she’s ever worked on.
“Everything was just a new challenge,” she says. “You’re spending every day in this state of being thrilled because you’re challenged every day and that is the most exciting thing but also terrifying because you don’t know if you’re about to do the thing that unravels the whole system.”
When “Flight” first opened in the UK in 2018, the Syrian refugee crisis was in full swing, giving the production even more weight and import. Edmunds says she wants audience members to leave “Flight” having experienced a sense of empathy for the two refugee children and their story that could extend to a better understanding of the refugee crisis as a whole.
“My hope is people come out moved and having had quite a transformative experience of what it’s like to walk someone else’s life and breathe someone else’s air for a time.”
Tickets for “Flight” start at $65 and are available now here; low-cost ticket options and discounts available. “Flight” runs from December 16, 2021 to March 16, 2022.
Studio Theatre: 1501 14th St. NW, DC; studiotheatre.org // @studiotheatre
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