Synetic Theater, known for performing underground (stylistically as well as logistically) at the very damp basement movie room called Rosslyn Spectrum, have taken up residence for a month at the Kennedy Center's "Family Theater" which used to be the American Film Institute's contribution to John F. Kennedy's vision for a multi-disciplinary center for the arts...until AFI got lured to the 'burbs as part of a multi-million dollar plan to class-up the neighborhood across the street from Discovery Communications - new Red Lobster and Macaroni Grill dining options! - featuring one of those fountains that shoots goofy tubes of water onto gleeful kids whose helpless parents get stuck with having to dry out drenched clothes. Now that's a "Family Theater"!
But I digress. Synetic is a rare bird in Washington for its healthy defiance of classification: all at once, it is dramatic theatre, tone poetry, film, ballet, and the plastic arts (e.g., arranged visual art and sculpture). And those are just wordy words, the point being - to invoke a cliché - you just have to dip your feet in and see how it feels. So much as I adore what they're up to, I see credibility in the full range of reactions, from guffaws at their playtime jock-ularity, to gasping in awe at their intoxicating momentum and artistic syncretism ("Syneticism?"). This brings to my mind the memory of seeing Synetic for the first time (when they went by the name Stanislavsky Theater Studio), their production of Oscar Wilde's Salomé at the Church Street Theatre. I was totally absorbed, feeling as though I had found artistic resonance in a format I had vaguely imagined but never found fulfilled in so-called "performance art"...while the person who was with me (surely no more) absolutely hated it. Pouty arguments ensued. But, I haven't missed a single production since - while, over time I confess it's increasingly harder to soak into such melodrama. (It must be merely that I am marching into my Middle Ages.)
If this little blog posting arrives to virgin eyes (i.e., you haven't yet experienced a Synetic production), by all means, try them out now. Your reaction probably won't be in the middle, and at the very least, you won't get lost looking for that basement in Rosslyn. The production runs through July 3 at the Kennedy Center, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. Go to ticketplace.org, or check out the TICKETPLACE Twitter feed posted on the right side of this page, and you'll likely find discounts for most performances during the run.