Capital Fringe Review: ‘To Know A Veil’ by Christina Marie Frank

I would say this show is a “must see,” but “see” isn’t the appropriate term. Artistic innovator Emma Crane Jaster and her lovely ensemble played by Naima Ramos-Chapman, Selome Samuel, Kate Folsom, Neelam Patel, and Anastasia Wilson take the audience through an interactive exploration. By attempting to understand the question “Why do women veil and reveal themselves” Jaster and collaborators sift through a complicated women’s issue using a clever range of different mediums. At times the audience is uncomfortable, at times vulnerable, but always engaged. She weaves her story into experiences that turn a would-be voyeur into an vocal participant. Jaster’s bubbly hostess is the only real “character” in the play as the audience gradually becomes part of the cast. It leaves the ego out of theatre. Instead of being a showcase for it’s actresses, the pieces uses the ensemble to establish an interactive rapport.

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This is everything that a Fringe piece should be. It’s fun, beautiful, experimental, interactive, entertaining, brave, and thought-provoking. The best part is its fiercely entertaining without being frivolous. The space and costumes are appropriate to the venue, being both simple and colorful at the same time. Using veils and original sound by Matt Pearson and Unown to shift the story around, it proceeds more like performance art than a play, rendering a traditional theatrical set unnecessary. Jaster chooses instead to focus on creating an atmosphere fun and friendly enough to pull the audience into her journey. She does this with wild success. This show only has three performances total, so make it a priority to see it ASAP.

If you are looking for theatre that is a step-up from the tradition of just sitting in your seat and watching, this piece is for you.

Running Time: Two hours.

To Know A Veil plays through July 17, 2013 at the Warehouse – 645 New York Ave NW, in Washington DC. For performance and ticket information visit the show’s Capital Fringe page.

2013 Capital Fringe Show Preview: ‘To Know a Veil’ by Emma Crane Jaster.


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