Friday night brought me to a play I had not planned on seeing, and one that, if I am truly honest, I [wrongly] assumed would leave me with comments of mediocrity, even though a friend was in the play. I assumed that because these were not professional actors that it would make the performance less than spectacular and give it what my friends and I might call a “high cheese factor.”

Not so. That was me being a snob. Conversations(2), seen at RBC in neighboring Reston, was an amazing portrayal and examination of the everyday conversations we get in to with people we know, people we want to know, and – most honestly – people we think we know and find that we don’t. In a city like Washington, DC where it’s supposedly all about “who you know,” the performance made me think. I thought how well do I know all my acquaintances that I would call friends? Not your close friends – but the ones you hang out with at conferences, after work, and generally just see around. What is the real answer to “how are you doing?” and am I actually asking the question in a way that can render an honest answer? How much do I invest in them and vice versa rather than them being a “friend” and we engage in surface talk at happy hour and move on.

Conversations is becoming an annual show, updated from last year’s first run, both written by local singer/songwriter Kelly Minter. Minter set up five scenes of conversational situations you might have with different types of people in a local coffee shop (for such a low budget, the set was amazing – an artistic version of a local shop). Students, co-workers, a client, a good friend or neighbor. The music she chose – from Cold Play’s “I’ll Fix You” to Simon & Garfunkle – was an eclectic mix of songs everyone knows but that succinctly hooked in to each person’s “conversation” scene.

Overall, a thought-provoking and wonderfully enjoyable I-was-wrong night.

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