Post-Mortem is everything I love about theatre and fringe festivals. It’s poignant, well-written, and perfectly executed.
Staged at the Blue Room Theatre, the minimalist staging perfectly complements the production, focusing our attention on the sublime narrative. Post-Mortem is a professional, slick, flawlessly-executed new theatre piece.
Post-Mortem is by Iskandar R. Sharazuddin, who also performs in the show as Alex, alongside Nancy (Essie Barrow). The performance starts with the fluttering and giddy joy of first love. The story follows this new relationship with interjections from the past, present and future, all cleverly interwoven with remembered scenes, inner dialogue, and, when words fail, raw physicality.
The narrative progresses as the relationship matures, and experiences trauma, which ultimately terminates the relationship. Then we reconnect with the couple again, ten years after their split, at a mutual friend’s wedding.
The non-chronological structure of the play is complex, but like any good narrative, piecing it together is intellectually rewarding. The show is by turns brutal, steadfast and comedic, as the trauma that outlives the relationship unfolds. Communication and its many failings are the cornerstone of the story. The narrative leads us through different perspectives, nostalgia, and memory, and highlights the unreliability of the human experience, hearing what we want to hear and believing the lies we tell ourselves.
The relationship with the audience is multi-faceted. As you enter the space, a heartbeat reverberates through the room, setting the mood, both metaphorically and literally (as it starts with the dissection of a heart). For the most part, the audience watches on as voyeurs, but we are occasionally brought into Alex and Nancy’s world when they implore us or make direct eye contact. The tone changes frequently. One moment, laugh-out-loud funny; the next, emotional and significant. Intimate and tumultuous moments are portrayed through body language, sound, and physical performance, which speak volumes without words.
Words are sparse but well-chosen and perfectly timed. Be it the hilarious commentary on Nancy’s obsession with Hoovers (a metaphor left over from the trauma), or the cringe worthy pun-offs between the characters. It was equally heart-breaking to hear Alex reciting wedding vows that would never be spoken outside of a dream.
The physical theatre is expertly choreographed and timed. Dance sequences punctuate the play, and the intensity beautifully encapsulates the changing moods and conflict between the characters in this intimate, emotional story.
Their reunion exposes the truths behind their mismatching memories. They dissect their motives, and the lives they have been living. Lies are challenged, as they pick at the scars they still carry and confront each other.
In my opinion, this piece is a contender for the 2020 FRINGE WORLD Festival Awards. Go see it!
5 hearts out of 5
Elaine thinks dissection is messy, but you understand love better if it dies in the process.
Image courtesy of FRINGE WORLD Festival.
Woodside Petroleum is a principal sponsor of FRINGE WORLD Festival. Pelican has been a long-time supporter of the Festival, and will continue to show its support. However, the Magazine feels it is unethical for Woodside Petroleum to remain a principal sponsor of FRINGE WORLD, given the current climate emergency, and Woodside’s ongoing contribution to climate change.
Other Festivals have demonstrated that ethical sources of funding are possible – you can read more, and sign the petition, here: https://www.change.org/p/fringeworld-side-with-the-climate-and-drop-woodside-petroleum // #fossilfreefringe #fossilfreearts // Arts and Cultural Workers for Climate Action