2015 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Sanctuary’

A woman’s perspective on war is a powerful thing. We are often mothers, and because we can give birth, I think some of us find killing especially terrible. “I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier” plays hauntingly at the beginning of Susanne Sulby’s heartfelt solo theatre piece, Sanctuary.  In a red shirt, black dance pants, a black scarf, and a French braid, she becomes alternately a POW in Kosovo, a television correspondent, and a suburban mother. We see behind her, projected on a screen, poignant images of war—the dead from Bosnia (or is it Iraq?); Hitler giving a speech; the atomic bomb.  Using a soldier’s e-mails, the poetry of Wilfred Owen  and Rumi, and news footage, she reminds us of the heartbreaking consequences of wars which seem to happen again and again and again.

Susan Sulby in ‘Sanctuary.’
Susan Sulby in ‘Sanctuary.’

At one moment, she is a Japanese woman whose 12-year-old daughter died from atomic bomb-induced leukemia. At another, she is a prospective woman warrior, brandishing a sword and wondering what it feels like to kill. Next, she is an attentive mother, doing all the precious daily things which mothers love to do. Along with noted Director Stephen Stahl, with Sound Design by Janie Bullard and Projection Design by Olivia Sebesky, she has created a memorable exploration of what war does to us, and why peace matters.

Thank you, Susanne Sulby, for your remarkable solo performance.

Running Time: 60 minutes.

Sanctuary plays through July 26, 2015 at Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Lab II – 1333 H Street, NE, in Washington, DC. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to their Capital Fringe page.

Read the preview on DCMetroTheaterArts.


Previous article2015 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Ripple of Hope: One Teacher’s Journey to Make an Impact’
Next article‘The Altruists’ at The Flying Muskrat Theatre Company
Sophia Howes
Sophia Howes has been a reviewer for DCTA since 2013 and a columnist since 2015. She has an extensive background in theater. Her play Southern Girl was performed at the Public Theater-NY, and two of her plays, Rosetta’s Eyes and Solace in Gondal, were produced at the Playwrights’ Horizons Studio Theatre. She studied with Curt Dempster at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, where her play Madonna was given a staged reading at the Octoberfest. Her one-acts Better Dresses and The Endless Sky, among others, were produced as part of Director Robert Moss’s Workshop-NY. She has directed The Tempest, at the Hazel Ruby McQuain Amphitheatre, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Monongalia Arts Center, both in Morgantown, WV. She studied Classics and English at Barnard and received her BFA with honors in Drama from Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, where she received the Seidman Award for playwriting. Her play Adamov was produced at the Harold Clurman Theater on Theater Row-NY. She holds an MFA from Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, where she received the Lucille Lortel Award for playwriting. She studied with, among others, Michael Feingold, Len Jenkin, Lynne Alvarez, and Tina Howe.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here