Volunteer Karolina experiences office life Barrelhouse-style.
Crammed in between the bars and restaurants that line the bustling streets of Adams Morgan in Washington, D.C., is the small yet comfortable space known as the DC Arts Center. Adams Morgan already has a hip atmosphere, perhaps a bit on the funky side, setting the tone for the performance I was about to see.
Up the stairs and through the small, brightly lit gallery, I was greeted by someone who directed me through the backdoor, down a few steps in an unfinished area, and through a sketchy door on the platform. The door led to the stage area, though I felt as though I was walking into an Alice In Wonderland-like hole, a cavern of black—black walls, bleachers, steps, floor, ceiling.
The mystique of the space was fitting—the stories I was about to see performed were anything but ordinary. The first story involved inter-office dueling—you know, the kind with pistols and murders. The second story included the potential that a boss is actually a blood-sucking mythical creature. And this was not be an ordinary reading: local actors read the stories, turning the event into more of a performance than a reading.
The actors truly enlivened the stories. Their voices captured the room, and the audience, myself included, was completely absorbed in those storytellers except a few laughs at especially funny moments in the stories.
This show was put on by the folks at Barrelhouse, and was the first installation in their new series Stories on Stage. The theme for September’s event was office life. Next month, the topic will be about fathers and sons, but I am sure there will be a twist or two in there. Barrelhouse supports and contributes to the independent literature scene, and this event was definitely a cool way to be involved!