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Flying V goes to the mat for bodily storytelling in ‘Bowties and Blackeyes’


Since Saturday, I’ve been watching nonstop clips of wrestling’s finest moments. As I discovered from Netflix’s stunning however short-lived GLOW, the plotlines are intricate, the athleticism par none, and the premise of wrestling itself offers us lots to debate, if we’re open to it. That’s why it was so pleasant and refreshing to witness all of this, for the very first time, in particular person, with Flying V’s fall present, Bowties and Blackeyes. 

Damaris & Saul Esparza in ‘Bowties and Blackeyes.’ Photograph by JayLee Pictures.

Bowties and Blackeyes is, precisely prefer it sounds, a stay wrestling present up in Silver Spring. It is vitally a lot on model with Flying V’s give attention to impartial, popular culture–pushed artwork, aiming to convey totally different mediums of efficiency and storytelling to the realm. Throughout the two-hour present, viewers members had been handled to a set of seven totally different wrestling matches made up of a mixture of singles and doubles. Every match took now not than about quarter-hour, simply sufficient time to can help you query what the result could be earlier than declaring the winner.

Clockwise from prime left: Abby Jane & Erica Leigh & Jordan Blade (ref Andrew Gordon); Eel O’Neal & Boar; Robb Radke & Filipinot Grigio; Clean & Hamish Stuart in ‘Bowties and Blackeyes.’ Photographs by JayLee Pictures.

The motion performs out on a hoop set proscenium-style in entrance of the viewers in a black field theater. At first, the stark and vaguely intimidating wrestling ring feels ever so barely misplaced within the intimate venue, the place it stands tall even in contrast with the raked seating. In particular person, it’s bigger than life, no less than 4 ft off the bottom, and contrasts starkly with the straightforward versatility of the black field. It additionally units a excessive bar for vitality, which appeared troublesome to reflect because the present started. Although the announcer was very charming, he had a little bit of a gradual begin as he launched referees and the primary bout, and it was not till the primary two wrestlers truly began combating that the vitality actually picked up.

However as soon as the ring got here to life, it was unimaginable to look away. Every wrestler was magnetic in their very own approach, with all having no less than one second that made my jaw drop. I used to be so impressed with the strikes they executed, not only for the bodily energy and showmanship, but additionally for the eye to element that every one displayed. We had seats very near the ring, and virtually the entire throws, strikes, and aerials had been so exact that they didn’t look staged. Robb Radke and Filipinot Grigio, the evening’s first match, had been specific standouts. Although their entrances took a second to land, as soon as they started wrestling, the room was stuffed with the vitality they delivered to the desk. They executed some extraordinarily spectacular strikes, with Radke’s backflip from the nook ropes changing into one of many highlights of the evening. Wrestler Damaris Dawkins was additionally spectacular. Although she didn’t win her match, she gained the gang over instantly, all whereas performing some mind-bending maneuvers to show the tables on her proficient opponent, Saul Esparza. She had some nice moments when she had him in a maintain, and even higher when she would use a kick to get the higher of him.

For essentially the most half, the technical parts of the present had been simple, spotlighting all that was occurring within the ring. Lighting remained largely the identical, targeted on illuminating the happenings within the ring relatively than describing the battle of the match. Sound cues had been current solely when obligatory, primarily for parts like entrances, when the performers had the chance to peacock and present us just a little bit extra about their characters. There have been occasions when the present may have benefitted from just a few extra artistic technical touches. The announcer, for instance, may have used some entrance music himself, and it could have been enjoyable to see the lights maybe tackle a slight shade hue for various matches. It doubtless would have helped drum up some vitality and add a sense of connectedness to the varied items of the present. That being mentioned, it’s extraordinarily refreshing to see a present that depends solely on its premise to entertain and encourage, and Bowties and Blackeyes actually delivered in that regard.

The Air Present, Myles Millenium, Killian McMurphy (ref Crystal) in ‘Bowties and Blackeyes.’ Photograph by JayLee Pictures.

The one piece that remained absent, although, was the dramatic antics of a bigger plot and characters that appear central within the clips I’ve now discovered myself watching. Although every wrestler was exceedingly succesful, and there was one battle between performers to carry onto, I needed the wrestlers had extra time to flesh out their dynamics, to point out us the stuff they’re fabricated from, their values, and what, if any, rivalry there was with their opponent. It might have made it far more enjoyable to resolve who to root for, including to the good vitality already current within the present. The theatrics of this type of bodily storytelling are infectious, in order this stay wrestling initiative grows, I hope Flying V embraces the drama wholeheartedly.

Working Time: Two hours with one 15-minute intermission.

Bowties and Blackeyes performed October 7 and eight, 2022, offered by Flying V acting at Silver Spring Black Field Theatre, 8641 Colesville Highway, Silver Spring, MD.

COVID Security: Flying V’s COVID Protocols are right here.

Wrestlers/Wrestling Credit
Robb Radke vs. Filipinot Grigio
Jet Jaghori & Hamish Stuart vs. Artist Gallery (BLANK< Blaxstrom)
Damaris Dawkins vs. Saul Esparza
Myles Millennium & Killian McMurphy vs. Air Present
Pancakes & Erica Leigh vs. Jordan Blade & Abby Jane
Eel O’Neal vs. Boar

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