Rorschach Theatre’s ‘Chemical Exile’ to play in-person July 7–24

An immersive theatrical experience that can be enjoyed on its own or as the final chapter of the company's year-long Psychogeographies Project.

Chemical Exile: SynthesisRorschach Theatre’s immersive theater experience — comes to the Southwest Waterfront from July 7 to 24, 2022. The live event, directed by Co-Artistic Director Randy Baker, is a theatrical experience that can be enjoyed on its own or as the final chapter of the year-long Chemical Exile: A Psychogeographies Project.

Rorschach’s first Psychogeographies Project, Distance Frequencies, was named “Best Theatre Pivot of 2020” by Washingtonian Magazine. Conceived by the company when COVID shut down live theater, Psychogeographies is Rorschach Theatre’s visionary experience that takes participants to unexpected locations around their city while a season-long fictional narrative plays out over layers of history and magic realism. Subscribers are mailed boxes for each chapter in the story. Boxes contain hand-crafted objects — letters, drawings, souvenirs, photos, or even snacks — and a map to a curated location in the DC area.

DC Metro Arts reviewer Kendall Mostafavi wrote about the experience:

Rorschach Theatre’s current production is…an adventure of the mind and, if you wish, the body… The innovative form of art incorporates literature, music, mystery, romance, and DC’s highlights and history, all steeped in a hope for a better world… Rorschach Theatre has hit the jackpot with this innovative form of art, incorporating literature, music, mystery, romance, and DC’s highlights and history, all steeped in a hope for a better world.

Chemical Exile was created by a core team of six diverse artists with backgrounds in playwriting, directing, design, filmmaking, and production management: Randy Baker, Kylos Brannon, Jenny McConnell Frederick, Douglas Robinson, Shayla Roland, and Jonelle Walker.

The first chapter of Chemical Exile: A Psychogeographies Project launched in October 2021, but participants can join at any time and receive all seven chapters. Thus far, subscribers have visited Mt. Zion Female Union Band Cemetery in Georgetown, the site of the collapsed Knickerbocker Theatre in Adams Morgan, the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America in Brookland, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden on the Mall, Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo Maryland, the Grave of the Female Stranger and other sites in Old Town Alexandria, and the Anacostia Skating Rink at Anacostia Park in Southeast DC. These first seven chapters can be done in person over two or three days, or by using the “At Home” videos. The at-home experience takes about 90 to 120 minutes total.

The Chemical Exile in-person event will culminate the story:

When chemist Teddy Morris left Amsterdam to return to her hometown last October, it was not the DC she remembered. A stranger followed her around the city, her memories were coming apart at the seams, and a man claiming to be her dead dad had become a controversial faith leader. Over the next six months, her life took a swerve she never saw coming.

This summer, Dr. Theodora Morris cordially invites you to tour the R2 Labs where she and her colleagues are hard at work developing a chemical compound that may punch a hole through space time and allow those displaced from alternate realities to return home. Probably.

Tickets are on sale online. Subscriptions are $125 with the code “SUMMER.” Each subscription includes one ticket for the July event. Additional tickets can be purchased for $45. Find discounts available at rorschachtheatre.com/tickets. Shows are on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 8 pm. For more information and a link to FAQs go to rorschachtheatre.com/chemical-exile

THE SPACE

Rorschach’s R2 Labs operates out of Waterfront Centre at 800 9th Street SW, Washington, DC, a short walk from the Waterfront and L’Enfant Plaza Metro stations and steps from dining and nightlife at The Wharf. The building was built in 1986, and housed USDA offices until their departure from DC in 2019. Use of the building was made possible by a generous partnership with Building Creative.

THE EXPERIENCE

Guests attending Chemical Exile: Synthesis can expect the experience to run approximately 75 minutes. The majority of the event involves walking through multiple rooms, with occasional seating available as needed.

COVID Safety: Ticket holders are required to wear masks and provide proof of vaccination at check-in. Rorschach staff and all patrons will remain masked unless briefly eating or drinking. Performers will be unmasked and will be tested at regular intervals.

THE CHEMICAL EXILE: SYNTHESIS CREATIVE TEAM

Created by Randy Baker, Kylos Brannon, Jenny McConnell Frederick, Doug Robinson, Shayla Roland, and Jonelle Walker
Directed by Randy Baker
Featuring performances by Erik Harrison, Nathanael Hatchett, Jen Rabbitt Ring, Arika Thames, Roz Ward, and Baakari Wilder
Designed by Nadir Bey, Sarah Beth Hall, and Grace Trudeau (Set Designers); Dean Leong and James Morrison (Lighting designers) Gordon Nimmo-Smith and Veronica Lancaster (Sound Designers); Roo Sultan (Props Designer); and Kylos Brannon (Video Designer)
With Valarie McFatter (Stage Manager), Alika Codispoti and Caraline Jeffrey (Associate Stage Managers), Emma Sloane and Paige Willis (Assistant Stage Managers), Simone Schneeberg (Technical Director), Elliott Shugoll (Master Electrician), Adam B. Ferguson (Production Manager)

Rorschach Theatre Mission Statement
Through uncommon uses of environment and intimate passionate performances, Rorschach Theatre seeks to lure its audiences beyond the limits of ordinary theatrical experience so that they may discover new elements of their own humanity.

SEE ALSO:
Rorschach’s ‘Chemical Exile’ is already a grabber just two chapters in
(review of the second Psychogeographies Project by Kendall Mostafavi)
Rorschach Theatre plots next immersive story, ‘Chemical Exile’  (news story about the second Psychogeographies Project, October 6, 2021)
Rorschach Theatre hits the jackpot with immersive ‘Distance Frequencies’ (review of the first Psychogeographies Project by Kendall Mostafavi)
Rorschach’s enchanting ‘Distance Frequencies’ ends in beauty and love (review of the first Psychogeographies Project in-person culminating event by Kendall Mostafavi)

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