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Posted at 1:01 PM ET, 12/10/2010

Banished? Productions takes theater to the streets

By Stephanie Merry

The local alternative theater company Banished? Productions has had success pushing the boundaries of theater. "My Comic Valentine" brought 1950s comic books to life, conveying emotion with occasionally unintelligible language, and the Fringe hit "A Tactile Dinner" served up a Futurist-inspired multi-course menu that was a feast for all five senses (a few greens with a side of music box, anyone?).

This weekend, Banished? is heading down a new path: Walking tours.

The company's group tour of Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant at noon and 3 p.m. Sunday won't be the typical, linear experience of staring at buildings while hearing about history. It's theater in the form of an mp3: one that lets you experience a neighborhood through its residents' perspective.

The actors' voices that lead you down Park Road and 14th Street sound like locals, starting with a kid complaining about a lack of lunch money while the sounds of buses and traffic play in the background. Later, a couple of women go grocery shopping before taking a dog for a walk through Malcolm X Park.

This weekend's walks celebrate the first in what artistic director Carmen Wong hopes will be a series of walks (look out for a Shaw/Ledroit version planned for March).

To participate, download the map and audio from the Banished? Web site and add the files to your mp3 player.

You take the tour anytime, but the spectacle alone -- a bunch of people in their own iPod worlds traveling together in packs -- seems worth the trip. In the wacky universe of Banished? Productions that sounds like business as usual.

By Stephanie Merry  | December 10, 2010; 1:01 PM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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