Review: ‘You Have Made A Story on My Skin’ at Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint

You Have Made a Story on My Skin, created by the Production Team and led by writer/performer Rachel Hynes, uses personal stories to explore lingering memories and physical scars. This collaborative effort succeeds in connecting poetry, words, movement, set and sound design, direction, and lighting. The performance is part art installation, part interactive story-telling, and pure experiment. Director Goldie Patrick creates an atmosphere of shared intimacy, vulnerability, and sensitive awareness. The spiritual grounding is imparted by the assuring presence of Writer Gregory Ford who serves as a facilitator for the evening. Through song and gentle guidance, he convincingly gains our trust and gently draws the audience to a communal participation.

Rachel Hynes in 'You Have Made a Story on My Skin!' Photo by Teresa Wood Photography.
Rachel Hynes in ‘You Have Made a Story on My Skin!’ Photo by Teresa Wood Photography.

Ms. Hynes urges a single audience member to select a cabinet curio, a tile on the floor, or a page from a scrapbook. The choices initiate her honest spontaneity. She explains the shorthand of the accompanying label and the related details of the situations that left a mark. The random method creates a real-time non-linear monologue that is fresh and conversational. Each performance will be dependent on the audience, which items selected determines which story is told. Movement consultant Elena Day adds light touches and gestural detail. A slight movement interlude between Ford and Hynes resonates with powerful presence as he gently frames the passing moment.

Set Designer Brian Glick uses swatches of brocade fabric in lush red tones, casual cushions and living room furniture to create a relaxed comfortable salon. Sound by Aaron Finkelstein signals the closing of each brief story while Lighting Designer Gordon Nimmo-Smith utilizes subtle shifts to negotiate between participant and performer.

Rachel Hynes and
Rachel Hynes and Gregory Ford. Photo by Teresa Wood Photography.

As the performance concludes, audience members are invited to recall scars, marks, and indents; and to write the story on a small card. Photographer David McDuffie is on hand to document in portraiture you and your scar. Experiences or the simply disfiguring accidents of childhood, necessary surgeries, or skin deep encounters create the scars, or initiate the changes and marks we carry along  Some scars disappear with time but others remain in our emotions, shifting with time but etched for life.

You Have Made a Story on My Skin reminds us that identity is forged by experience, connection takes time, and that there is time to listen.

Running Time: 65 minutes, with no intermission.

You Have Made a Story on My Skin plays though October 1, 2016, performing at Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint – 916 G Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call (20) 315-1322, or purchase them online.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1553.gif


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