Synetic Theater’s mission is to be the premier American physical theater, fusing dynamic art forms — such as text, drama, movement, acrobatics, dance and music — by producing world-class theater for all ages, educating the next generation of artists and physical theater professionals, and promoting this distinct form of theater nationally and internationally through community outreach and touring programs.
Join us this Wednesday for Young Professionals Night or this Thursday for Pride Night! Both events have a limited number of specially-priced tickets and a pre-show reception with appetizers and happy hour!
Young Professionals Night
Young professionals 35 & under can book $25 tickets (with the code “Viola”) to the Wednesday, January 15th performance ofTwelfth Night! The evening begins at 6:30pm with a pre-show reception at Jaleo Crystal City - 2250 Crystal Dr with light appetizers and happy hour! Then, head the show to take in Synetic’s Roaring 20s rendition of Twelfth Night!
Get tickets here.
We celebrate Pride with $25 tickets (use the code “Pride”) to the Thursday, January 16th performance of Twelfth Night! Join us for light appetizers and happy hour at Freddie’s Beach Bar (555 South 23rd Street) beginning at 6:30pm! Then, head over to the theatre for a roaring twenties version of Twelfth Night!
Get tickets here.
How have you seen Synetic change over the years?
Synetic has grown exponentially since its inception. Synetic went from preforming in the DC Church Street Theatre, now renamed The Keegan Theatre, to a VA home base at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre with occasional one-off DC appearances at the Kennedy Center and Shakespeare Theatre’s Lansburgh Stage, to today its very own dedicated space in Crystal City, VA. We went from rehearsing in the basement of the Bethesda Presbyterian Church in MD, to warehouse/storage space fondly nicknamed The Factory in Shirlington VA, to our brand new, beautiful Synetic Studio Violet which has several large spaces and more than one bathroom. In terms of shows Synetic went from a typical season consisting of two new productions and one show remount, with a standard 4 show week, to three or more new productions, with some shows occasionally guest directed, and one or more show remounts, with 5-7 show weeks. Synetic has a long history of touring but the tours have also grown in scope. Initial tours were to the Philadelphia Fringe and New York Fringe Theater Festivals. Later tours were to colleges in Lancaster PA, New York, and even Massachusetts. The most recent tour, was our first, and hopefully not last, international tour to the Republic of Georgia. Actor rehearsals for Synetic productions have changed. Due to the increased number of productions and the increased number of shows performed during the run of each production we find ourselves with much less time to rehearse. As a results we have generally gone from rehearsing 5 days a week to 6 days a week. Finally show productions have become more experimental and more technological over time. Synthesis of the arts has always been the desired goal for Synetic productions and in the beginning this was achieved mainly through, spoken word, music, movement, pantomime, dance, lighting, soundscapes, costuming etc., with largest emphasis being on using the body to tell stories and convey emotions. Synetic has expanded this goal by experimenting with elements such as sand and water sets, other art forms including magic, video and projections, and even some special effects to heighten the story telling while still utilizing all the art forms that Synetic is known for. Synetic of today also relies less on pantomime and for every aspect of the show and continues to incorporate more physical props in productions and bigger, bolder, more elaborate sets and costumes.
Do you think the Silent Shakespeare shows have changed? Do you approach them differently than you did from the first show?
Before I dive in, I must confess I was not directly involved with the creation of the very first Silent Shakespeare, “Hamlet…the rest is silence” I was around during this time and certainly kept abreast of the play by play as it was being created but I was not in that first run. However, I LOVED the show and have performed in every remount since its initial run and cannot wait to participate in the remount later in the season. In the early years of Synetic the general feeling was that the Hamlet being without text was a unique concept applied to that particular show. It wasn’t until ’05 when we mounted our second production without text, not a Shakespeare show, Bohemians, the exception being a quick Tower of Babel scene in which everyone briefly spoke a different language. Synetic did not attempt another Shakespeare production at all until 2007, which would by my first to experience in the creation process. This production was Macbeth and the interesting thing is that initially it was scripted, a reduced script of course but never the less we had a script at the start. During the rehearsal process it was determined, and decided by Paata, that we were telling so much of the story physically that the dialogue was too redundant at times and at other times the movement was too illustrative to support keeping the text. Thankfully also this was during the early years of Synetic when we had extended rehearsal periods to prep a show so the transition away from dialogue was a much more manageable process than if a similar situation were to arise today. Once this pattern of Silent Shakespeare was established with two very well received productions the formula was set, which naturally meant “Romeo and Juliet” had to be next.
Personally I don’t really approach the creation of a Silent Shakespeare production different today than early ones. I have found the best way for me to learn the material is to study the story something I do throughout the rehearsal process. I will say that while I am reading the story, with every single them there is always at least one interaction or scene or sequence of plot points where I think how the heck are we going to tell this part of the story without words. This is where Paata and Ira are geniuses, they always find a solution.
Would you say it’s harder to be in a comedy or a drama?
I have heard frequently that comedy is much harder than drama, something I would have to agree with. My personal taste is more for drama as I consider myself a true tragedian at heart who prefers performing tragedies. This reminds me of back in the days of Blockbuster video when I would walk the isle of new releases as I general rule I skipped right over the latest Jim Carey flick and looked for a drama first. However the great thing about Synetic productions and the Silent Shakespeare productions in general is that there is always a balance, the comedies have some real highly emotional driven scenes and the tragedies always have some lighter scenes that we capitalize on, a sort of best of both worlds scenario.
What are the differences (if any) in the way you prepare for a silent role vs. a speaking one?
The biggest difference is that actors seem to be much more reliant on the rehearsal process to establish character, motivations, and emotional flow in silent roles than in speaking roles. In speaking roles an actor can, and should, independently break down and dissect their dialogue to find subtext, emphasis, emotions and general tonal quality of what will be said, all to achieve the characterization their part calls for. In a silent role scene partners become so important because without words the interplay of action on stage is one of the best tools you have to convey story and more rehearsal time is required to establish, develop and nurture these interactions.