As the Capital Fringe Festival enters its second full week, Celia Wren considers Jane Franklin Dance’s “Aflight,” and Cassandra Miller enjoys the dating scene laughs of “The Regulars.”
Jane Franklin Dance’s “Aflight” avoids most easy correlatives. Sure, the movement in this multimedia dance piece occasionally echoes the incorporated snippets of voice-over: During a monologue about birding, dancers cup their hands around their eyes, evoking binoculars. After a description of an entrepreneur indicating his new car, there’s a little pointing. But in general, the choreography in this serviceable work only obliquely parallels the sampled talk, which is drawn from interviews on the themes of flight, climate and migration (by humans and animals).
Dressed in light everyday-style clothes in off-white tones — and, later, blues and yellows — the dancers often spin or execute low-key lifts with circular contours. They stand on one leg, torso tilting and second leg swinging out like a pendulum. Such movements may suggest people and fauna coping with the instability of life. A repeated gesture involving a raised and lowered hand may evoke the flight of a bird. But thankfully, the connections are rarely too obvious.
The interview fragments approach “Aflight’s” central themes from various angles. Interviewees recall their own or their family members’ experiences as immigrants in the United States. An expert describes the migration patterns of salmon. Someone remembers watching eaglets learning to fly.
The high point of the show features an anecdote about a person who relocates after working at a Prohibition-era speakeasy. In the subsequent dance sequence, the dancers seem to work a little Jazz Age sass into their steps.
In addition to the interview material, “Aflight” features electro- or roots-flavored music by Patrick McAvinue, David Schulman and Mark Sylvester and video by Franklin and Dawn Whitmore. The projected images — a childlike drawing of a night sky and a ladder; seaweed-like floating abstractions; decades-old civics texts for new citizens — add to an overall tone of pensiveness.
— Celia Wren
60 minutes. July 20 at Elstad Auditorium, Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave. NE.
Anyone who has spent time swiping left on pictures of dudes posing with tigers is in for a treat with “The Regulars,” a whip-smart and wildly entertaining show that frankly talks about the stereotypes, expectations and frustrations of being single today — especially if you’re a bright, ambitious black woman dating in D.C.
Nikki (played by the charming Chayla Simpson) is the show’s central single woman, who is self-admittedly awkward and shy. Her dating fairy godmother is her older cousin, Gina (Eva Lewis, with excellent comic timing), who has loads of advice for how Nikki can snag a man. She tells Nikki that she needs to be married by 27 (“while your eggs are still good”) and that dating white men can be fun at first but gets annoying.
“Please stop telling jokes about ‘Get Out,’ ” Gina says. “It is very unsettling.”
The show is packed with quotable lines and relatable insights — information garnered through the real-life dating experiences of the show’s creative team of co-writers Sherrita Wilkins and Chinwe Nwosu and director Bryanda Minix.
Gina is not the only one giving Nikki unsolicited dating advice; so is a group of four drinking buddies at the bar where Nikki is on her first OK Cupid date with Alex (Clint Bagwell), an awkward white dude who lives in Arlington. The peanut gallery/“Regulars” includes dating app addict Peter (D’Arcee Neal), married Chelsea (Courtney McNeal), political climber Jordan (Inestin Petit-Homme) and token white guy Kevin (Peter Pinocci). After trying out other people’s advice, Nikki realizes she is better off not listening to anyone but herself.
The show is so smart and funny, you’ll wish it was a TV show you could watch again on a good Netflix-and-chill date.
— Cassandra Miller
70 minutes. July 21 at Logan Fringe Art Space, 1358 Florida Ave. NE.
IF YOU GO: Fringe tickets $17, plus one-time purchase of a $7 Fringe button. Available online at www.capitalfringe.org, 866-811-4111 and at Fringe venues.
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