Published On July 14, 2015 | By Anne Pellicciotto | ARTS & CULTURE, THEATRE

Presented by Sanctuary Theatre’s Performing Knowledge Project

Song of Myself: The WHITMAN Project:
Wednesday, July 15, 7:00 pm
Thursday, July 23, 9:00 pm

Embodying Poe: Poetry-in-Performance:
Sunday, July 12, 2:30 pm
Saturday, July 18, 7:15 pm
Sunday, July 26, 1:45 pm


DANCE PLACE (Hyman M. Perlo Studio)
3225 8th St., NE, Washington, DC
(Brookland/CUA Metro stop)

Composer: Matt “Swamp Guinea” Miller, John McGrath and Douglas Fraser
Playwright: Edgar Allan Poe and Walt Whitman
Director: Robert Michael Oliver and Holly Twyford
Featuring: Robert Michael Oliver
Running time: 70 minutes

Robert Michael Oliver in Song of Myself: The WHITMAN Project. Photo credit: Anne Pellicciotto

Robert Michael Oliver in Song of Myself: The WHITMAN Project. Photo credit: Anne Pellicciotto


Song of Myself kicked off Friday night, opening night of the 2015 Capital Fringe Festival, with a bombastic performance of Whitman by Robert Michael Oliver. In this one-man show, held at the newly-renovated Dance Place in Brookland, Oliver captivates his audience not only through his eloquent recitation of this seminal American work, but through his embodiment of Whitman who, in this piece, embodies everyman.

For those for which poetry can feel inaccessible (I am one of you), this multimedia interpretation will draw you it with a combination of original music, photography, film and sound effects. At times, the sounds of the Brookland/CUA metro station beyond the walls of the transformed dance studio seems to play right in to the piped-in sounds of the city and battlefield and port, circa late 1800s.

And that, too, speaks to the universality of this prose poem, Oliver embodying Whitman embodying everyman and traversing the ages as he masterfully shifts in voice, persona and action from slave to master, soldier to fire brigadier, lonely woman to mother condemned as a witch.

Toward the performance’s conclusion, a video montage of everyday Washingtonians about town – crossing Columbia Heights streets, hanging in trees, jumping from stoops, walking hallowed Soldiers’ Home grounds while reciting Whitman in a diversity languages – so poignantly reminds us ‘I contain multitudes.’

Give yourself the gift of poetry this year: Fringe with Oliver in a performance as Poe and Whitman, two American giants.

Note: there are also special after-performance gatherings at the home of the actor for imbibing and sharing of work.

Click here for more about Capital Fringe Programs: 7/9 – 8/2.

Robert Michael Oliver in Song of Myself: The WHITMAN Project. Photo credit: Anne Pellicciotto

Robert Michael Oliver in Song of Myself: The WHITMAN Project. Photo credit: Anne Pellicciotto


Educator, writer, performer Robert Michael Oliver, PhD., offers Socratic student-centric tutoring to high school and college students in the art of presentation, essay writing, and critical analysis.

With over 30 years of teaching at the university and high school levels, Michael is a master teacher with a firm understanding of the Socratic Process, Essential School Pedagogy, Howard Gardner’s “Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and the critical pedagogy of Paulo Friere. He has taught a wide range of subjects from AP Composition & Literature to courses in creative writing, acting, and presentation, as well as courses that combine literature and psychology, history, mythology, folklore, and philosophy.

Currently, Michael is the co-director of The Sanctuary Theatre and its initiative The Performing Knowledge Project ( He is the director of Mementos: Creative Communities for Seniors. He also writes SPINE, a cultural column for DC Metro Theatre Arts.



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About The Author

Anne Pellicciotto
is founder and president of SeeChange Consulting. In business for over 10 years, SeeChange helps organizations create collaborative, innovative business strategies and build the internal organizational strength to realize them. She is also a returned a Peace Corps volunteer (Mexico 2010-12), writer, photographer, and explorer.

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