Mor(t)ality – Melbourne Fringe Festival (VIC)
Written and Directed by Alexander Dymalovski
Reviewed by Martha 'MJ' Latham
06 - 09 Oct Venue The MC Showroom - The Clubroom Tickets: https://melbournefringe.com.au/event/mortality/
I love fringe. Turning up to a show right on time, squishing into what is essentially a room with three lights, and watching brand new artists with brand new works. It's exhilarating! Mor(t)ality was the first show I've seen this Fringe and while it wasn't the best show I've seen lately, I certainly didn't have a bad time.
The general premise wasn't anything original. Two strangers locked in a room by some unknown power. It's an overused structure, but that doesn't mean it is not a good one. Since the characters are strangers to each other trying to pass the time, it's easy to make exposition feel natural. Mor(t)ality offers a slight deviation from the trend with a gun! The audience engagement comes as the characters are left to ask themselves, whose life is worth more?
The performers do an adequate job exploring this question, though the script does not give them much to work with. There's a lot of what feels like mansplaining. Though the characters are deliberately not gendered by the text, named simply 1 and 2, they are gendered by their clothing and the performers who play them. Because of this, we end up with the "male" character philosophising on why a gun is merely a tool and not a weapon, and why the death penalty is immoral and a whole host of questions.
I can't think of a single point where actress Lara Anderson is the one philosophising or teaching. She disagrees to be sure but always her responses are reactive to other characters. It doesn't give Anderson a lot to work with regarding motivation which is to the detriment of the show as Anderson is a talented performer. There's a lot of heavy breathing and chewing words, it comes with the form, but when the moments of levity arrived, Anderson absolutely shone! Lara, if you're reading this, please do a comedy next and send me an invite.
The blocking was well done and the direction was clear. Shifts from day to night were represented by a beautiful fade from orange to blue wash, which is interrupted by an on the nose ticking clock. These transitions are undoubtedly beautiful though and for a debut work Dyatmalov has done an excellent job.
If you are looking for a clean and crisp original work, Mor(t)ality won't scratch that itch, but if you, like me, want to see what brand new artists are doing in whatever spaces they can find, Mor(t)ality is worth the risk.
Alexander Dymalovski will also be performing another Fringe Festival production this season titled: Jan Pedinski: Barely Live. Tickets can be booked at: https://melbournefringe.com.au/event/jan-pedinski-barely-live/
CAST/CREATIVES Alexander Dymalovski: He/Him (Writer/Director) https://instagram.com/alexander.j.dymal?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
Lara Anderson: She/Her (Actor) https://instagram.com/laraandersonmusic?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
Boaz Hulme: He/Him (Actor) https://instagram.com/boazhulme?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
Jasmine O’Hanlon: She/Her (Stage Manager) https://instagram.com/jasmine_o_333?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=