This piece is part of our Performing Arts Guide in the September 2022 print issue of District Fray.
Flying V Theatre
It’s your friendly neighborhood theatre that just happens to have pro wrestling, geek-tastic research meets and plays never lacking in excitement. Bethesda’s Flying V Theatre is your next stop for entertainment that’s authentically nerdy and prides itself on taking culture to new heights. flyingvtheatre.com // @flyingvtheatre
Artistic co-lead at Flying V fights
How wrestling is different from acting?
As an actor, I make creative choices that are sustainable for multiple takes and shows and carry little to no physical risks or pain. But in a match, every choice is physically impactful and has high intrinsic risk and pain. We work to minimize them, all the while performing for a live audience with no second takes. To get in the zone, I always warm up in the ring by trading simple wrestling holds with another wrestler. It wakes me up both mentally and physically, narrows my focus to wrestling and opens me up to “take space” and be larger than life.
What iconic wrestler you’d never square off against?
The Undertaker. He is a physically dominating master performer and a world-class athlete. He’s the “Phenom!” There’s only one way a match between me and The Taker would end: with a tombstone, courtesy of The Deadman.
Who needs to learn a lesson?
Starman from Pro Wrestling (NES) could stand to learn a thing or two. I’ve been feuding with Starman for 20+ years and all he’s got is that somersault kick. Game recognizes game, and the winner isn’t you, Starman.
Any advice to aspiring wrestlers?
Invest in quality training and train consistently. The characters, the gimmicks, the business — all that will come after. Consistent, quality training is the foundation everything else is built upon. Also watch Flying V Fights: Pro Wrestling. But that’s just good advice for everyone.
Astro Pop Events
Astro Pop Events is the performance company that approaches slapstick tomfoolery with the utmost intention. Known for gut-busting shows like “Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club” and “America the Game Show: F–k Yeah.” astropopevents.com // @astropopevents
Sound designer at Astro Pop Events
What movie and show you’d give a different sound to?
For a film meant to be nostalgic and anticipated by audiences for decades, “Transformers” was a major letdown. Outside of the plot, script and military glorification, the sound was terrible. You would expect a film about extraterrestrial robots to have a solid soundscape, especially when sound is used as a plot device. Decepticons sounded like insect-like power tools, and in my mind, many of the action sequences involving the Transformers didn’t feel synchronized. But, if you needed a military style explosion, you got it. I would have expected a stronger connection with sound, music and action, similar to films “Terminator” and “Independence Day.” Thanks, Michael Bay, for ruining my childhood.
Faction of Fools
This lovable troupe of goofballs is making performance in the DMV fun and intelligent. Rooted in the masked stylings of commedia dell’arte, Faction of Fools is a D.C. outfit that takes a traditional art form and makes it accessible to performers and patrons of all backgrounds. factionoffools.org // @factionoffools
Francesca Chilcote + Kathryn Zoerb
Co-artistic directors of Faction of Fools
What are the differences between the “big ideas” person and the “make it happen” person?
Chilcote is absolutely the big ideas person who flies through the clouds and Zoerb is her loving tether, which is the main reason we work so well together. It’s integral to work with collaborators who encourage the sharing of wild ideas while massaging and refining them into their best version. Find your “yes and” people, or even better, find your “yes and…but also, what if” people and tie yourself to them.
What running company joke never gets old?
This is hard, mostly because we at Faction devote so much of our time to the perfect joke. As a company, we have a mantra of “the best idea always wins.” It isn’t just about patching together each individual’s comedic genius, but rather all of us supporting each other and pursuing comedy. Between us, it’s probably banter around our big “work wives” energy as co-artistic directors versus our big ol’ clown antics (our short film “Bean & Widge Go to the Park” on YouTube is the perfect paradigm of this big clown energy between the two of us). We run this company together to create the joyful, silly work we want to see and work hard to make it happen.
What should D.C. know about Faction of Fools?
“Commedia dell’arte” sounds very fancy — or like you might need to be familiar with it in order to enjoy it. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Commedia is theatre for the here and now of popular culture and society, and we at Faction are constantly pushing the immediacy and relevance of our work in D.C. But come see for yourself at the world premiere of our new play “Love Like Tuesday” by Doug Robinson in February 2023.
Off with their heads! Or rather, get those heads versed with some amazing scripts. Georgetown’s Guillotine Theatre is your next stop for live performances that embrace the classic and contemporary writers who pay tribute to them. A wonderful force for the arts, Guillotine is a refreshing breath of life for one of the District’s most iconic neighborhoods. georgetowntheatre.org
Heart Stück Bernie
With 2022 as its bat mitzvah year, Heart Stück Bernie is a choreography and dance company defying bodily expectations with their heart-stopping moves. Inspired by unapologetic feminism and unbridled experimentation, Founder Sarah Beth Oppenheim put her all into creating a company of perpetual innovation. sarahbethoppenheim.com/heart-stuck-bernie // @heartstuckbernie
Pointless Theatre Co.
For an organization that calls itself “pointless,” D.C.’s Pointless Theatre pushes puppetry beyond its capabilities and gives the practice more meaning than anyone could imagine. Started with the hopes of creating daring theatre for a diverse and passionate audience, Pointless subverts your expectations of what a puppet show can do and sets the bar for all performance, puppet-based or not. pointlesstheatre.com // @pointlesstheatre
A beautiful mix of American life and the robust tradition of Caucasus performance, Synetic Theater is a Northern Virginia company embracing movement using it to turn folklore fiction into fantastic reality. Started by two renowned artists from Georgia (the nation, not the state), you’ll never be underwhelmed by a Synetic showcase.1800 S Bell St. Arlington, VA; synetictheater.org // @synetictheater
Rorschach prides itself on inviting new talent into their spaces. Its “Magic in Rough Spaces,” a new play development program, contributes to the DMV’s reputation for invigorating art and welcoming youthful creativity into the nation’s capital. rorschachtheatre.com // @rorschachdc
Capitol Hill Arts Workshop
Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (or “CHAW,” as many call them) is the D.C. haven aiming to educate future artists, providing tools to create and hosting critically acclaimed projects. 545 7th St. SE, DC; chaw.org // @chawindc
Washington Improv Theater
You’ve probably had that one friend who took a WIT class and now raves about improv every chance they get. Do yourself a favor: Listen to that friend. Not only are they the area’s leading force in improv education, but WIT is also known for hilarious showcases that blend genres and push improv to its creative limits. 1835 14th St. NW, DC; witdc.org // @washingtonimprovtheater
haus of bambi
haus of bambi is a movement-based company embracing genderless and gendermore expression, channeling their pluralistic take on the human form through love, respect and sensational video projects highlighting the spectrum of LGBTQ+ identity. There is no shortage of detail or beauty in this wonderful haus’ work. hausofbambi.com // @hausofbambi
Taffety Punk Theatre Company
A theatre company that approaches performance with punk rock elation, Taffety Punk is anti-authoritarian, anti-racist and ensures all their art is a statement of unique rebellion and human solidarity. Held together by the tireless efforts of their devoted members, this company sees themselves as a kick-ass band rather than a normal theatre. taffetypunk.com // @taffetypunk
Spooky Action Theater
Named after an Albert Einstein quote that describes the effect one small change has on the surrounding world, Spooky Action puts forth stellar plays that invite speculation and curiosity from their audiences. With their upcoming production “Maple and Vine,” patrons can see how modern-day uncertainty is no monster compared to the constraints of a dark past. 1810 16th St. NW, DC; spookyaction.org // @spookyactiondc
At Perisphere Theater, history comes to life with precision and grandeur. Showcasing plays that examine the world’s past with a modern and thoughtful eye, the team behind this phenomenal company takes no shortcuts in ensuring the past is respected. Their productions reflect the impact of history on our present. perispheretheater.com // @perispheretheater
Nu Sass Productions
Started in 2009 with the goal of creating performances that aren’t dominated by cis men, Nu Sass is a D.C. organization desperately needed in a time where freedom of gender expression is tumultuous, and art is needed to uplift all who have been kept underfoot by cultural hegemony. nusass.com // @nu_sass