BWW Review: POLLY MERMAID: APOCALYPSE WOW! Invites Austinites to the Depths of Plastic Destruction in East Austin, TX.
The Glass Half Full Theatre at The Vortex in East Austin, is currently an ocean chock full of plastic. In a special event for World Oceans Day on June 8th, POLLY MERMAID: APOCALYPSE WOW! examines how humans create and use plastic in a destructive way. These plastic items humanity continues to use fleetingly and toss into the nearest bin, make a bigger impact on our planet each day. At the heart of this story is Polly Mermaid herself (played by Indigo Rael), a mermaid comprised of plastic with her loyal friends in tow. With plastic lids replacing schools of fish and disposable bags covering her underwater throne, the depths of the sea resembles a landfill. Transcending space, time and terrain, we meet Dr. Deborah (play by Katy Taylor) as a crazed scientist, zapping objects in her lab transporting the "trash" to an unknown place. After multiple calculations and tests, the mad scientist turns her experiments on herself, sending her on a path of self-discovery and global realization. Dr. Deborah lands in Polly's lagoon, surrounded by plastic both from her lab and the world at large. After seeing the styrofoam creatures and flip-flop fishes, the Doctor quickly realizes the toll humanity's plastic use has taken on the ocean floor. Realizing the future is dim, the Doctor vows to change things based on her discovery, but with ex-lovers and big business in the way, the outcome is mirrored to reflect what today's environmentalists face - overwhelming odds.
POLLY MERMAID: APOCALYPSE WOW! portrays itself as trash art quite literally in all things, but make no mistake the performances from this ensemble were not garbage - quite the opposite. For audiences watching a production about the massive amount of plastic items that are used and quickly discarded daily, the trash set and costumes that repurpose these objects in abundance is quite shocking to see. Using trash puppets, trash costumes and a portal-potty traditionally used to flush human waste, the witty and quirky inundation of plastic across the stage makes a statement. However, the irony of commenting on plastic being used and abused, and then collected exponentially for a production to tell a story of waste, was not lost on me. The story is original, the set is original and the comedy written within the piece chuckles. Epigrammatically, the comedy zings with puns, the blue humor matches Polly's tail. Sexual innuendos and ownership is smart and well placed using trash references to bring an unexpected laugh while delivering the depth of their message..
The Vortex and their productions alike make the audience think. Agreeing or disagreeing thematically with the piece being performed is simply a byproduct of The Vortex's bigger vision. Austinites have many different theatrical tide pools to wade in, The Vortex doesn't let you test the water, it simply dives right in. POLLY MERMAID: APOCALYPSE WOW! delivers on this mission, challenging the audience to imagine a world with less waste and more accountability for our actions as a society.
POLLY MERMAID: APOCALYPSE WOW!
MARCH MAY 25-JUNE 9, 2018, 8PM
- $35 Priority (First Seated), $25 General Admission, $15 Discount (Last Seated)
- Radical Rush Free Tickets: Limited free tickets for each performance in the spirit of sustainability, accessibility, and the gift economy. Radical Rush tickets released at 7pm each night-in- person only.
- Blue Star Theatre: Discounts for Military, Veterans, and their families
- Industry Night: Wednesday, June 6th
Photo Credit: vortexrep.org