Each play created a context for two performers to have tense and psychological fraught interactions; the minimal sets and purposeful use of props stripped away any frills that might diminish the audience’s engagement with the performers; Varda Appleton’s portrayal of Mother Dawn was terrific, inverting and complicating narratives of institutional abuse that have we may have become desensitized to; the armadillo also provided a compelling performance!
What I didn't like
Given the experimental nature of the work, this isn’t criticism so much as some thoughts of what could be done with the work going forward: if both plays are intended to continue being shown together, it seems like there are some opportunities for cross-over, repetition, and greater contrast that might help the plays reinforce each other (as it is now, they seem like they would be just as strong on their own as together); for the “The Holy Name of the Apostasy”, I’d be interested to see what could be done with a longer form, particularly when it comes to the gradual build up of the characters’ lives and how the events of the play represent a departure from the status quo (this would help the emotionality of the play to feel more earned); in “Man vs. Armadillo”, while it certainly had moments of humor, I would be interested to see if the play could have an overall more comedic tone so that the reality of the characters’ situation could be more harrowing in contrast (ie, the levity would strengthen the feeling of sorrow and futility).
My overall impression
A thoughtful and impressive experiment with form and content, the blend of two different plays with complimentary tones (accompanied by improvised percussion) was engrossing.