Andrés Fernandez and Ivan Delaforce have been banging cans, dustbins, tea chests, radiator hoses, boots and hub caps for well over 15 years. They don’t have problems with anger; rather they are part of the traveling troupe of STOMP, the international percussion sensation, which returns to Washington, D.C. to perform at the National Theatre for a limited engagement February 4 to 9, 2014.
From its beginnings as a street performance in the UK, STOMP has grown into an international sensation over the past 20 years, having performed in more than 50 countries and in front of more than 24 million people.
The performers “make a rhythm out of anything we can get our hands on that makes a sound,” says co-founder/director Luke Cresswell. A unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy, STOMP has created its own inimitable, contemporary form of rhythmic expression: both household and industrial objects find new life as musical instruments in the hands of an idiosyncratic band of body percussionists. It is a journey through sound, a celebration of the everyday and a comic interplay of characters wordlessly communicating through dance and drum.
Synchronized stiff-bristle brooms become a sweeping orchestra, eight Zippo lighters flip open and closed to create a fiery fugue; wooden poles thump and clack in a rhythmic explosion. STOMP uses everything but conventional percussion instruments to fill the stage with a compelling and unique act that is often imitated but never duplicated.
Fernandez has been with the show for 17 years; Delaforce for 19. They both say that they don’t get tired of performing with the same show because it continues to change.
“We do something different every year,” said Fernandez. “It stays fresh for us – and for the audience.”
Fernandez said that he’s “not the same guy every night.” “The music is the same but we embellish it.”
The troupe continues to work out new solos and tries different things. Some nights they just go with something new. And while Fernandez and Delaforce have been with the troupe a long time, they continue to hire new people so they mix “the old with the new.”
“We make ourselves laugh,” said Fernandez. “We also localize it – when we performed in Brazil, we wore sombreros.”
Fernandez said that they just added shopping carts to their repertoire so those viewers who saw the show three years ago will be seeing a new show.
Coincidentally, both Fernandez and Delaforce were raised in Hawaii – a half dozen other performers have come from there as well.
Both performers also live in Las Vegas now. They did the show in Vegas for two years and in San Francisco for two years; the rest of the time they have been on the road.
Fernandez enjoyed doing the European tour – he especially liked performing in Athens, Greece at the Acropolis.
“I kept thinking – ‘oh my gosh – I’m at the Acropolis,'” he said.
Although they only had two shows in Athens, he spent a week traveling.
“I’ve gotten to see the world – South Africa, Spain, Paris . . .,” said Fernandez.
Delaforce really enjoyed going to Iceland and Poland and said, “The European tours are all great – people come out to see us.”
Delaforce said that they used to tour in Canada during the summer but now they have the summers off.
Considering that Fernandez has a wife and two children, he likes being able to spend the summers with them. Delaforce tries to go back to Hawaii once a year.
“I just got back from Australian and New Zealand and am looking forward to coming back to D.C. for a whole week,” said Delaforce. “We have a bunch of new people and three or four new numbers.”
Tickets for STOMP are priced at $40 plus applicable service charges for opening night, Tuesday, February 4. Tickets for the remainder of the engagement start at $43, plus applicable service charges, and are on sale now online at www.thenationaldc.com, by phone at 800-514-3849, or in person at the National Theatre box office (located at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW). Group orders of 10 or more may be placed by calling 855- 486-2516. For more information, call 202-628-6161.
Performance Schedule - Tuesday, February 4 at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, February 5 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, February 6 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, February 7 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, February 8 at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.; Sunday, February 9 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.