Capital Fringe 2014 Preview: ‘In to the Out Side/D.C. al Coda’ by John Sowalsky

This family-friendly comedy started with a daydream. The whole thing grew out of a single enigmatic image: A prison cell, without windows or doors, bisected by a nine-foot wall which does not quite reach the twelve-foot ceiling. It was easy to take the next step and place a character on either side of that wall. But the idea of a daydream, of something dream-like, is central to enjoying this piece. Dreams are open to interpretation, and no given interpretation is the “correct” one. Each interpretation reflects something about the person doing the interpreting.

In to the Out Side has often been described as reminiscent of Beckett’s work, particularly Waiting for Godot. And while I can only hope to aspire to Beckett’s level of brilliance, his work can, admittedly, be pretty gloomy. If Beckett had been a Marx Brother, they would have called him Glummo. But it is exactly that gleeful Marxist silliness which I tried to infuse my play with in order to defuse the gloom and doom which seems to mark so many absurdist works.

Elizabeth Heir and Cassafrass Dinglehopper.
Elizabeth Heir and Cassafrass Dinglehopper.

I am hesitant to provide my own interpretation. I will only go so far as to say that “In to the Out Side” explores the universal conflict between a desire for independence and a need for interdependence which characterizes so much of the human experience.

When I produced this play for the 2008 Fringe, it was a much shorter work, running only about 40 minutes. It was presented on a split bill with another, unrelated, 40-minute piece. Thus, when I decided to re-mount In to the Out Side, I knew it would have to be revised in order to stand on its own. In returning to the script I saw a number of places where the comedy could be sharpened, and that led to some significant revision, but not to a longer piece. So instead, I decided to add not so much a new ending as a full-blown extension. A coda, of sorts. Thus, the double title and the companion piece, D.C. al Coda. The original script segues directly into the new coda without any overt indication to the audience that one script has ended and the other begun. To say any more would be to ruin the sequence of surprises which follow.

The two pieces together have been presented in staged readings twice: once at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, in conjunction with the Playwrights’ Collaborative, and once at the 2013 Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage Festival under the banner of The Indian Ocean Theatre Company. In both readings, Elizabeth Heir was cast in the role of TWO, and Cassandra Redding in the role of B, and both of these very talented actors have remained with the project for our 2014 Fringe production. Thus, we have been able to maintain continuity and consistency across an extensive development process, and our audiences will benefit from the rapport which has arisen between the actors. For this production we have also enlisted the considerable talents of local choreographer Sarah Frances Williams to serve as a movement coach and help us fine-tune the abundant physical comedy which balances the script’s copious word play. We have also benefited from the work of Costume Designer Meridith Styer and Set Designer Jon Shapiro, both of whose contributions have been invaluable to our production.

Those who are looking something which is fun, but not dumb, smart, but with heart, and safe for the whole family, should come to The Shop and have a wall of a time!

sixteen (3)

Fort Fringe – The Shop, 607 New York Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20001.

Fri 7/11 @ 9:30 pm

Wed 7/16 @ 6:00 pm

Sat 7/19 @ 6:15 pm

Thurs 7/24 @ 8:00 pm

Sun 7/27 @ 2:15 pm

a-ticket21.jpgPURCHASE TICKETS HERE OR CALL (866) 811-4111.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here