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Dianna Dynamic: Memoirs of a Cyborg – Melbourne Fringe Festival (VIC)

Created and performed by Bernadette Cranage, directed by Lisa Laine and Lisa McCune.

Review by Carla Di Maggio

The MC Showroom – The Clubroom

Season 5-21 October 2023


- Bernadette Cranage tackles what it means to be human in a world obsessed with perfection -

Accosted by the capitalist ideals of our objective-obsessed society, Bernadette Cranage takes her audience on an emotional journey through what it means to be alive.

Dianna Dynamic – Memoirs of a Cyborg is a monologue about a cyborg in an era of success. She is hitting all her KPIs and receiving oodles of positive feedback from the customers she encounters; she is even outranking her rival in all these factors. However, her world is turned upside-down when she learns that her destruction is imminent. In fact, she even has the date it will happen.

Dianna Dynamic accosted my everyday cyborg-ness I put on at my retail job. It made me reflect on my personal script, which has rarely changed despite my working at this job for four years. Of course, this “original” and “tailor-made” experience is full of deceit and lies, and Cranage brings these to the forefront of her play. Is this really what we want our society to look like? Devoid of any real human interaction? And if this is how we interact with each other on a day-to-day basis, what does it even mean to be human? How can we be truly human when we are expected to perform to KPIs, along with a number of different acronyms?

Cranage, performing a 45-minute monologue nonstop, makes brilliant use of her intimate space with her charm and ability to capture the eyes of her audience. Her jokes land beautifully throughout the show, peppered in to show the ridiculousness placed on the importance of perfection and efficiency our world is obsessed with. A bonus is the fact that after you’ve done laughing, you are hit with a double-edged sword the more you think about the meaning behind every joke.

Two audio clips were used and repeated throughout the show to remind the audience that despite Dianna’s success, she shall be “terminated” by the end of the month. Not because she has done anything particularly wrong but because she is not the latest model of Cyborg and, therefore, not the most productive or efficient. The placement and use of these soundbites were expertly done and only made me thirst for more, leading to my own selfish want for more audio design in this production, as Cranage proves that she knows what she is doing in this department.

Cranage shows her audience that she understands struggle, and through her work, she fights for us to choose pure, unadulterated happiness in ourselves, our families, and our friends.

The set, against the amazing chrome of Dianna Dynamic’s costume, was lacklustre. This is not a significant problem, especially given that Cranage’s performance and connection to the audience carry her show forward. However, I cannot help but wonder what effect it would have on the overall production if more attention was paid to set design.

I believe Dianna Dynamic to be a triumph. It made me reflect upon my own life and what values I’ve decided to place value on. Is work the be-all and end-all? Or should we be focusing on personal relationships and place importance there? Cranage shows her audience that she understands this struggle, and through her work, she fights for us to choose pure, unadulterated happiness in ourselves, our families, and our friends.

If you have an extra 45 minutes to spare, I implore you to pay Dianna Dynamic a visit.


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