THE SOUNDPROOF ROOM (The Soundproof Room): 2016 Fringe review 29

Photo: Jorge Cortez

Photo: Jorge Cortez

THE SOUNDPROOF ROOM is simple in its execution. Five performers, informally dressed, sit in a circle of chairs onstage and perform a series of vocal improvisations. Sometimes it sounds like music. Other times, not quite. What comes out is a sort of quasi-musical, sub-verbal communication between the performers and at times, the audience. It’s a laid-back, meditative experience that prompts us to think about the ways we sometimes speak to each other without using words.

The show is broken up into eight parts. The first is a simple chanting warm-up for the performers. If upon arrival it feels as though you’ve stumbled into a new age-y meet-up, that’s because in a way it is. The group meets up for classes throughout the year; this its first venture into Fringe. Parts two and three involve a call and response: performers (and two audience volunteers) repeat one another’s vocalizations. The show moves on to healing “Medicine Melodies” and “Rasa Creations,” soundscapes based on themes suggested by the audience. The penultimate movement, “Playback Theater,” asks audience members to share full stories from their lives which the performers transform into wordless poems made entirely of voiced sounds. The audience may join in the final movement, “Grandmother Sounds,” which is similar to the first. The informal, participatory nature, coupled with the charming surprises that come from the performers’ mouths, make this a good way to unwind and try something unexpected.

[Hamilton Family Arts Center- Arden Theatre, 62 N 2nd Street] September 12-13, 2016; fringearts.com/the-soundproof-room.

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About the author

Tyler Horst

Tyler Horst is a writer, filmmaker, and photographer based in Philadelphia. He is a regular contributor for JUMP, SPOKE, and Hidden City Philadelphia. His writing has also appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News and the mobile gaming site Hardcore Droid. In 2015, he won an Emmy for his short documentary "Born-Frees in Hip Hop," shot in South Africa. His first movie was a Star Wars fan film he shot on a camcorder at the age of 8, but his cousin tragically taped over it with an episode of Yu-Gi-Oh!. He still hasn't forgiven his cousin for this.