Get to know a Capital Fringe show: ‘UPheaval’


The cast is swinging from the rafters, but don't confuse DC Aerial Collective’s “UPheaval” with Cirque du Soleil-style entertainment, says Gwynne Flanagan. (Photo by Eden Soto-Reiner)

“UPheaval,” is an aerial dance show that melds music, spoken word, opera and flamenco — yes, flamenco — with a little airborne pyrotechnics. Before the show opens on Saturday at Studio Theatre, I asked DC Aerial Collective’s Gwynne Flanagan to talk more about the production.

(Check out the first installments on Fringe shows “Please Don’t Beat Me Up: Stories and Artifacts from Adolescence,” and “Between Takeoff and Landing.”)

What's your show about?

“UPheaval” is about strangers accidentally brushing up with each other’s emotional landscape. You meet them all waiting at a bus stop, and as the time stretches by, they inadvertently trigger each other, and each person’s private world is forced to become public. Music plays a huge factor of change in this show. ... We have a live musician on stage with us who improvises according to the mood and energy of each personal interaction.

Comedy, mystery, one-man show, drama, musical, or clown show? Or, perhaps, something else?

I would say “UPheaval” is an aerial dance with a dramatic narrative.

You're claiming that “UPheaval” is this year's only aerial Fringe show. How does going airborne aid in the storytelling?

The dancing and acrobatics are representations of the inner turmoil, the psychological changes, that each character is going through. They interact in a very pedestrian setting. ... The dancing shows each person’s true colors.

Just how high do you get?  And where do you rehearse?

The ceilings at Studio Theatre’s Mead Theatre are about 15 feet high, and the majority of the pieces definitely use all that space! There are dances on aerial fabric, trapeze, lyra, straps and sling. It’s quite eclectic.

Our company rehearses at Joe’s Movement Emporium in Mt. Ranier.

 

What do you hope people take away from the show?

         We are hoping our audience becomes a bit more aware of their fellow man, and the huge life, energy, emotions and dreams within all of us.

Lavanya Ramanathan is a features reporter for Style.

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