2022 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Higher’ by Plays2Gather

On a hot-air balloon ride, a couple escapes the pandemic into the past and maybe the future.

On a hot-air balloon ride during quarantine, lines, borders, relationships, memories, and realities blur the further from solid ground this contraption floats. For Kat, a grad student who has been shackled by the quarantine, this journey into the clouds helps her discover solid footing. Her boyfriend Marco is an insufferable business “bro” — money, appearances, and gifts are all that matter. Billy, the balloonist, is a dreamer, a wizard with words, who leads this couple on a pandemic escape above the clouds and into past and maybe future lives.

Playwright Wayne Firestone’s Higher tackles multiple levels of complexity from interracial relationships to immigrant longings, parental relationships cut short, and finding one’s true voice amid capitalist expectations. Director Connor Lugo-Harris tries mightily to keep these complex past, present, and dream-filled spaces connected, but it is easy to get lost on this journey. Cast includes Sarah Amoyah, Brock Brown, Alex Carnot, Colum Goebelbecker, Kyle Kankonde, and Reginald Richards.

See it if a rough draft that will likely evolve in the next iteration interests you.


Running Time: 70 minutes with no intermission.

Higher plays five times from July 14 to 24, 2022, at W. WASHINGTON – Formerly Forever 21 Georgetown, 3222 M Street NW, Washington, DC. For the performance schedule and tickets ($15), go online.

COVID Safety: The audience is to remain masked for the show. The mask needs to cover your mouth and nose the whole time. Proof of vaccination and ID are checked before entry.

Genre: Drama
Age appropriateness: Appropriate for All Ages

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Lisa Traiger
An arts journalist since 1985, Lisa Traiger writes frequently on the performing arts for Washington Jewish Week and other local and national publications, including Dance, Pointe, and Dance Teacher. She also edits From the Green Room, Dance/USA’s online eJournal. She was a freelance dance critic for The Washington Post Style section from 1997-2006. As arts correspondent, her pieces on the cultural and performing arts appear regularly in the Washington Jewish Week where she has reported on Jewish drum circles, Israeli folk dance, Holocaust survivors, Jewish Freedom Riders, and Jewish American artists from Ben Shahn to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim to Y Love, Anna Sokolow to Liz Lerman. Her dance writing can also be read on DanceViewTimes.com. She has written for Washingtonian, The Forward, Moment, Dance Studio Life, Stagebill, Sondheim Review, Asian Week, New Jersey Jewish News, Atlanta Jewish Times, and Washington Review. She received two Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Arts Criticism from the American Jewish Press Association; a 2009 shared Rockower for reporting; and in 2007 first-place recognition from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association. In 2003, Traiger was a New York Times Fellow in the Institute for Dance Criticism at the American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C. She holds an M.F.A. in choreography from the University of Maryland, College Park, and has taught dance appreciation at the University of Maryland and Montgomery College, Rockville, Md. Traiger served on the Dance Critics Association Board of Directors from 1991-93, returned to the board in 2005, and served as co-president in 2006-2007. She was a member of the advisory board of the Dance Notation Bureau from 2008-2009.


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