What’s Up in the Downspace? Sink at PW

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You can get your dose of existentialist anxiety, synchronized swimming, and devised theater in one fell swoop this weekend with “Sink,” an original play by Ursula Raasted ’14. Integrating text, movement, and music, PW’s latest offering builds a lyrical and unsettling dream world in 9 non-sequential vignettes. The work centers on the “capsizing relationship between a sailor and a siren,” Raasted said, but don’t come to the Downspace expecting a rehashing of Homer’s Odyssey. In “Sink,” 9 anonymous performers, categorized into triplets of “sailors,” “sirens,” and “soothsayers,” fall hopelessly in and out of sync with one another, struggling to give meaning to their existence and to distinguish between their individual and collective identities.

The major conceptual project of the work was “trying to figure out how you can use text and movement … to support each other instead of having … a hierarchical relationship between the two,” Raasted said. Indeed, the actors tell much of the story with an arsenal of precisely coordinated gestures that range from military marches to dry-land synchronized swimming routines. The rhythmic maneuvers were devised in rehearsal and are delivered unblinkingly by a remarkably cohesive group of actors – gold stars to movement consultant Sarah Friedland ’14. Original songs composed by (who else?) Raasted herself and lighting design by Austin Draycott ’15 are also integral to the storytelling. “Sink” will confuse, surprise, upset, and delight you. It is a bizarre, ecstatic work of theater from the mind of an exciting young playwright.

“Sink” runs in the PW Downspace tonight at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., Sunday at 5 p.m., and Monday at 8 p.m. Free tickets will be made available one hour before show time.

Photo by Regine Rosas.

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