"Surfacing: An Inventory of Helplessness" ran September 12-29, 2019 at the ATLAS Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street NE, Washington, DC

In this play by Russian/Austrian writer Julya Rabinowich and translated into English by Karin Rosnizeck, three characters live in captivity: a female refugee (A) hiding underground, fearing deportation, and traumatized by her journey across cultures, a kidnap victim (B) locked in a basement at the mercy of her perpetrator, and a young man (C) imprisoned in his own home due to the threat of blood revenge against his family. Each is trapped, isolated, and unable to surface or take part in everyday life. The play explores their mental states, survival strategies, and the way their minds work through cycles of hope, fear, anger, and desperation. In a world where millions of people are fleeing oppression and dealing with hopelessness, this thought-provoking production opens our eyes to the plight of the marginalized, dispossessed, and downtrodden. Here are some background readings and videos on global migration and the plight of refugees.

Director: Karin Rosnizeck
Choreographer: Erica Rebollar at Rebollar Dance
Lighting Designer: Ian Claar at Q1 Theatrical Solutions
Scenic and Projection Designer: Johnny Robertson at Jonathan Dahm Robertson


Read DC Theatre Scene Profile of Artistic Director Karin Rosnizeck (by Keith Loria) (September 9, 2019)

Rosnizeck: "I want to point out that in today's global, post-national world, mobility and deterritorialization, the migration experience, the transnational existence, and living between cultures have become a social and cultural norm."

"I've worked for 10 years in international relations at the U.S. Consulate in Munich, and I studied English and French literature, so these things were really important to me."

"The play raises consciousness and gives a voice to the anonymous masses of undocumented, disenfanchised, underrepresented migrants to Western Europe."

Karin Rosnizeck's Radio Interview with WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi, September 24, 2019 (13 minutes long)

In her interview with Kojo Nnamdi, Karin explains her Surfacing play and why D.C. needs more theatrical productions that improve understanding across cultures.

Karin Rosnizeck's Radio Interview with WPFW's David Rabin, September 10, 2019 (interview starts 42 and 1/2 minutes into the show) (12 minutes long)

Karin discusses why she started ExPats Theatre and chose Julya Rabinowich's Surfacing play. There is a discussion of the production and Karin's European background.

Short Video about Surfacing by Karin Rosnizeck (30 seconds)


What DC Metro Theatre Says about the Atlas Performing Arts Production (by John Stoltenberg) (September 15, 2019)
(full review here)

"a play that merges Becket and Martha Graham" ... "the desperation of the displaced" ... "curiously apt" ... "who knew Becket and Martha Graham could get along?" ... "directed resourcefully by Rosnizeck"

What DC Theatre Scene Says about the Atlas Performing Arts Production (by John Geoffrion) (September 20, 2019)
(full review here)

"intriguing piece" ... "open and vulnerable performances" ... "their stories are the stories of millions of people" ... "the play would be an effective wakeup call"

What Broadway World Says about the Atlas Performing Arts Production (by Rachael Goldberg) (September 13, 2019)
(full review here)

"incredibly thoughtful" ... "their restless panic" ... "fantasies of escape" ... "dreams of the outside world" ... "anger and despair at their situation" ... "gives the people behind them a face and a voice"


What Audiences Said about the Capital Fringe Festival Production (based on post-performance surveys)

"riverting performances" ... "thought-provoking" ... "great actors" ... "loved the way video and music integrated into the production" ... "thoughtful piece about our current state of affairs" ... "awesome" ... "its study of the human condition is fascinating and very well done" ... "very moving" ... "everyone was in sync and it flowed beautifully" ... "interesting explanation on helplessness" ... "very powerful" ... "timely for contemporary discussions of refugees" ... "80% recommend the play to friends"


Cast: Nichole Chimere (A), Christine Jacobs (B), and Greg Ongao (C)

... ...

....... .......