AIRNESS by Chelsea Marcantel, directed by Christina A. Coakley, choreographed by Jessica Redish | Photo: Cameron Whitman Photography

DC Metro Theater Arts: AIRNESS

In uproarious ‘Airness’ at Keegan Theatre, the rock ‘n’ roll is unreal

A show full of thrilling air guitar performances as feel-good as a concert by real rockstars.

In the competitive national and international air guitar scene, contestants vie for championships and prizes by pretending to play (or “shred”) imaginary guitars to 60-second tracks from classic rock ‘n’ roll. Typically their performances — intensely physical and crazily choreographed — are more over the top than real rockers’. Now, thanks to playwright Chelsea Marcantel’s uproarious Airness, you can not only drop in on that weird world — you can rollick in an all-out comedy that’s fricking funny, hella heartfelt, and badass brilliant.

Marcantel’s play, getting its DC premiere, first stirred excitement two years ago at the Humana Festival. The Keegan Theatre production directed by Christina A. Coakley lives up to that buzz and then some. An incredibly talented cast and inspired design team have created a rock-your-world theatrical experience that’s as feel-good as a concert by your favorite rockstars — with an all-access pass to their dramas off-stage.

The cast members etch each character so vividly, it’s impossible to single any out; they are as individuals and as an ensemble one of the strongest casts I’ve seen on a DC stage. … The unforgettable power of this production explodes in the cast’s performance of their air guitar licks, of which there are, happily, a lot.

You may walk into Keegan Theatre’s Airness knowing nothing about the world of competitive air guitar. And that’s okay. Because you will leave more with it and much the wiser and most of all wildly entertained.

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