Keegan Theatre’s ‘Airness’ Is A Theatrical Rock Concert Without A Single Instrument Onstage

Ten minutes to show time, and Guns N’ Roses was blaring, welcoming the audience to the jungle—er, Keegan Theatre. Followed by Aerosmith. Toss in Def Leppard, some Mountain, and OK, this was clearly going to be a party.

Then: The lights dimmed. The volume turned up on Quiet Riot’s “Come on Feel the Noise.” And the shredders arrived.

Four competitive air guitarists flew onto stage, literally bouncing off the walls. There were high-kicks; there were power slides and splits (sometimes unintentional—read: painful). There were leather pants and gold sequins for days. Tongues hung out. Faces were melted.

Chelsea Marcantel’s Airness, now playing at Keegan and co-produced with 1st Stage in Tysons, is like going to the best possible combination of a rock concert, comedy show, and theater performance. All this, and not a single instrument appears on stage during the play.

In the lobby of Keegan, a sign warns “Please do not touch the air guitars,” a black rope cordoning off those invaluable (and invisible) “instruments.” After seeing the show, it’s not a stretch to consider power sliding to the display and worshipping at the shrine of the maybe ridiculous, but totally magnetic, music-makers.