July 20, 2009

REVIEW: SAPAN @ Capital Fringe Festival

The South Asian Performing Arts Network and Institute put on a production with Capital Fringe on Saturday, 11 July; with a family member working back stage and an interest in delicious Indian food Indian culture, I decided to make this show my introduction to the Capital Fringe Festival. Compared to the other, more decidedly chic venues in the festival, the United Methodist Church of Chinatown proved an strange choice (though it was clean, spacious, and comfortable) but since that was handed down from higher up, we won't hold that against them.

The show begins with three young women in flowing costumes dancing to the music of a three-person chorus and a harmonium. I don't know what it is about their chant-like melody or the soothing white noise of the harmonium, but the entire experience was deeply relaxing and almost spiritual. The opening act gives way to more singing, dancing, music, and costume changes, and culminating with a vibrant couple's dance in the style of a Bollywood musical. Each segment begins with a brief video introducing the instruments, theme, and the cultural significance of the act to follow. This really brings in the audience and makes an otherwise niche cultural show more accessible to the general audience.

The transitions were often quite long, featuring several minutes of darkened silence, and exhibiting a low level of organization, but the quality of the production more than compensates and makes this a fun and enjoyable show.

I had the chance to join most of the cast afterward at Ella's Wood Fired Pizza on 9th between F and G and can vouch that they are a fun, chill group of kids.

1 comment:

  1. We are glad you enjoyed the show and thank you for supporting us! If you have any comments or feedback please do let us know! Contact info is on the website.