Flying V hits the rails at speed in 2023 (FV23) with a season that includes the full-scale theatrical horror experience Monstress, workshops for two musicals-in-progress, the continued high-stakes impact of Flying V Fights Professional Wrestling, and the return of the narrative podcast hit, Paperless Pulp.
FV23 is lucky #13 for the company, and the second full year of production under Flying V’s first Shared Leadership team – Executive Director Katherine Offutt, and Artistic Leads Kelly Colburn, Tim German, Joey Ibanez, and navi.
This season, the DMV’s premier nerd and pop culture performing arts organization continues to focus on how its three wings – Theatre, R&D, and Fights – run parallel, exist in tandem, and combine in collaboration. As R&D Artistic Lead navi puts it: “This year, we’re drawing the map.” And as the WMATA-inspired season artwork shows, that’s not just a metaphor. FV23 whisks audiences to a world where theater, nerdlesque, and pro wrestling are only a stop away, and strangers become companions on a journey of nerdy discovery. With over a dozen productions, workshops, and community events throughout the year, FV23 makes it easier than ever to transfer stations and make meaningful connections between Artistic Wings.
While Flying V has always provided audiences with a variety of ways to enjoy storytelling, the company believes that in FV23, every stop will lead to a space of celebration and belonging. That’s connecting the dots.
FLYING V THEATRE
The Theatre wing, led artistically by Kelly Colburn, invites you to witness the birth of a heroine and the reawakening of a monster. This January, Flying V hosts a week-long developmental workshop of the coming-of-age musical Vanishing Girl by local writing team William Yanesh (music and lyrics) and Hope Villanueva (book). Over the course of the week, the team will build upon a story that has only seen life through Zoom readings and cabaret excerpts, culminating in two staged readings of the full script and score. Directed by Eric Jordan Young, and featuring the talents of Julieta Gozalo-Michaud (Luciana), Carl Williams (Mason), Talya Sindel (Taima), Sunita Param (Fairoz), and Cheryl Campo (Professor Valdez), Vanishing Girl is a story about feeling invisible and learning you’re not.
In Vanishing Girl, Luciana gains superpowers through accidental electrocution! Unfortunately, the more she uses her powers, the more she fades out of existence. How the heck will she juggle work, school, friends (and crushing on that girl at the comic shop) while turning invisible? Reminiscent of beloved comic book stories, Vanishing Girl will resonate with anyone who has felt invisible in their own shoes.
Postponed from debuting in 2022, Monstress will release at the Silver Spring Black Box in October 2023. This immersive horror experience reimagines the legend of the Manananggal, a Filipina cryptid. Designed for small-batch audiences, the experience features an innovative fusion of live and digital performance, technical wizardry, and atmospheric, sensory immersion. Devised in collaboration with the R&D department, this piece reawakens an ancient darkness to ask ourselves: What do we deem monstrous? Preview the design work by Kristina Manente (sound) and Jeannette Christensen (costume/makeup) in the Monstress audiovisual novel currently being released in installments on Flying V’s YouTube channel.
In October, the Theatre wing continues its collaboration with R&D for Are You Afraid of the Booth, returning for a second iteration in October! In 2021, Flying V ran a series of entry-level technical workshops for commonly used stage software. Designed for directors, producers, performers, and audience members alike, these courses aim to demystify “theatre magic,” providing insight and basic competency for QLab, Isadora, and the ETC Lighting software, and helping theatre production teams communicate ideas smoothly through a clearer understanding of what exactly happens in that dark booth!
FLYING V R&D
In addition to supporting Monstress and Are You Afraid of the Booth, the R&D Department has a bustling series of stops in FV23. Artistic Lead navi has situated the department at the intersection of performance, nerd culture, and technology, and is gearing up to connect these dots in familiar yet unconventional ways!
Flying V’s narrative anthology podcast Paperless Pulp returns for its third season, with incoming showrunner Madeleine Regina taking the helm to tell a cyber noir detective mystery about perspective, individuality, and capitalism in the not too distant future. Season Three features Madelyn Dorta, Jon Jon Johnson, and Latisha Jones as writers, and Kristina Manente, Belgian musician Ryako, and Trevor Van Winkle as designers. Paperless Pulp releases episodically in June.
Alongside this homage to radio dramas, Flying V presents a workshop performance of Static: Noise of a New Musical, the 2022 Capital Fringe Best Musical winner by teenage playwright and composer, Tess Rowan. Abandoning urban centers, Static takes place on the Appalachian trail and heavily features Morse code into its tale about a teenager who uses her radio, her songs, and her intuition to figure out what happened to her missing father. Flying V has been working with Tess to develop the concepts, music, and script presented at last year’s Fringe, and will debut the new iteration of Static with a live band for one night in June.
In Static, the McAfee family has lived in the Pennsylvania forest ever since their father went missing while hiking. Now, daughter Maine teams up with local teen Charlie on a detective mission to find her father, yet, the truth may silence waves of sound. Static is an original adventure musical with a radio blend of musical theater, rock, folk, and immersive Morse code clues.
Nerdvana returns! In the fall, the R&D Department re-connects with artistic partner Maki Roll to celebrate nerdy nightlife in all its glory, with the second iteration of The Nerdvana Experience. This acclaimed fusion of cosplay and burlesque also features a nerdcore hip hop concert and a community marketplace. What do nerds do after dark? Come find out…The Nerdvana weekend is sure to paint the most popular fandoms in a new light!
Before all this, however, travel to Westeros in style! In April, R&D invites audiences to the Black Box to be part of their own dramatic arc in the theatrical megagame: Aegon’s Conquest. A Game Of Thrones themed tabletop megagame, Aegon’s Conquest lets up to 32 players work together (or against each other) in a game of intrigue, backstabbing, and dragons. This game brings fans of the series together, while encouraging face-to-face diplomacy, tactical play, secret dealings, betrayal, and heartfelt roleplaying. The game is based on the history and deep lore as presented in the A Song of Ice & Fire literary series, and will be led by Casey Ross, the writer/designer, and the founder of Defy Danger Games.
Last but not least on R&D’s roster is an ongoing collaboration with comedians Rae Pendergrass and Scott Abernethy, aka Showburger. The Showburger team has partnered with Flying V to host a monthly Comedy Test Kitchen, where writers, performers, and aspiring humorists can hang out, work on new material, and experience the flow of a comedy writers room. No comedic experience is required! The Comedy Test Kitchen runs monthly in the Black Box rehearsal room.
FLYING V FIGHTS
One wing over, wrestling nerds will be excited to hear what’s next from Flying V Fights Artistic Leads, Tim German and Joey Ibanez. From the rails to the ropes, German and Ibanez bring audiences together around the squared circle for three new professional wrestling shows in 2023. The first, Flying V Fights: Grapplemania, premieres on February 18th at the Silver Spring Black Box. Grapplemania sees the villainous Red Prince TJay Sykes fighting to maintain his control over the Fighterverse and the heroic wrestlers who stand in his way. After that, Flying V Fights Pro Wrestling (FVF:PW) fans can mark their calendars for June 3rd and July 29th, for the continuation of this epic struggle between good and evil! Will the Red Prince rally his forces to crush the heart of Flying V? Or will the heroes of the Fighterverse triumph and rescue their comrades from his vile clutches? Who can be saved, and what will be left of them? Find out in February!
Can’t make it in person? Make the connection on YouTube instead. Throughout the year, FVF:PW will release exclusive content, full matches, and storyline updates on Flying V’s channel. Like and subscribe to keep up to date on the latest heavy hitting action, heartfelt drama, and hard won victories in the Fighterverse!
There’s room for growth this year as well! In April, Flying V Fights hosts a Society of American Fight Directors Quarterstaff Skills Proficiency Course and test, partnering with Jonathan Ezra Rubin of Fire & Ice Movement Arts to bring a valued and rarely taught stage combat skill to the Silver Spring Black Box.
The first stop Fights made was in January, however, with an appearance at the internationally renowned Music and Gaming Festival (MAGFest) at the National Harbor. Flying V made their MAGFest debut with Scheduled For One Fall!, an educational panel on the art of storytelling through professional wrestling.
Ibanez and German, who wrestle as Kamen MK and Eel O’Neal respectively, were joined by Fighterverse regulars Erica Leigh and Brooke Valentine as well as local wrestling scene mainstay Nymph the Enchantress. The panel workshop led participants through the basics of what makes a wrestling show a wrestling show and audiences even got to lock up with friends under the tutelage of Flying V’s panel leaders.
For Flying V, connecting the dots is more than exciting shows and entertaining events. It’s stepping beyond the expected and building pathways to meet the community where they hang out. In FV23, one might see Flying V at festivals, conventions, and parades, handing out swag at the company’s signature Flockbuster table! Or, one might spend some time on Flying V’s community Discord server, where fans, artists, and everyone else hangs out to talk shop, play trivia, and enjoy the virtual company of friends. Entering its third year, the Discord server provides a safe and thriving community space for almost 200 Flying V supporters! Whether online or in person, Flying V lives on long after the train has left the station!
And that’s something the company couldn’t do without the generous support of a dedicated and growing fanbase. This year, Flying V’s Fall Gala celebration, “Doors Opening!” is scheduled for October 6th, with a Silent Auction, previews of FV24, and more! Last year, Flying V’s Fall Gala, Bowties & Blackeyes, toasted the artists, art, and audiences that brought FV22 to vibrant life – with puppet shows in a wrestling ring, delicious food and conversation, a sneak preview of Vanishing Girl, and more. By all accounts, it was a sleeper hit, and the Gala team looks to outdo themselves with this year’s party!
CHECK YOUR SEAT
This season, Flying V draws inspiration from the DC Metro, both in design and philosophy. The season’s theme is “Connecting the Dots” and through art, entertainment, and community FV23 does just that! The year’s events provide a whistlestop tour for artists, fans, and anyone else who is curious, to find joy in nerdy spaces, embark on theatrical adventures, and discover inspiration through pop culture storytelling! Like the transit lines that keep the DMV thriving, FV23 provides no shortage of routes, stops, and unique destinations for anyone willing to take a ride.
So, hop on board Flying V’s 2023 season: it touched the third rail, and is charged and ready to roll. A new experience is only one stop away.
January – March 2023
January 5-8 Flying V @ MAG Fest
January 23 Comedy Test Kitchen
January 28-29 Vanishing Girl
February 18 Flying V Fights Pro Wrestling Grapplemania
February 20 Comedy Test Kitchen
March 13 Comedy Test Kitchen
April – June 2023
April 17-30 SAFD Quarterstaff SPT
April 29 Aegon’s Conquest
June 3 Flying V Fights Pro Wrestling Summer Show
June 17 Static
June 30 Paperless Pulp Season 3
July – September 2022
July 29 Flying V Fights Pro Wrestling Late Summer Show
September 22-24 Nerdvana 2.0
October – December 2023
October 6 Flying V Gala Doors Opening!
October 19-29 Monstress
October Are You Afraid of the Booth workshop series
ABOUT FLYING V: Flying V is a performing arts nonprofit in Montgomery County, Maryland specializing in pop culture-infused works that span theatre, digital media, and stage combat/professional wrestling. They are known for larger-than-life moments on small stages, and immersive worldbuilding that connects audiences, regardless of medium, with the stories we tell as well as each other.
SEE ALSO: Through storytelling and shared leadership, Flying V makes safe space for nerds (The Companies We Keep feature by Lisa Traiger, November 16, 2022)