We’ll Dance on the Ash of the Apocalypse

Melissa-Kelly Franklin
Bluestocking Productions & Women’s Writes in association with Park Theatre
Park 90

Maite Jauregui as the woman & Danny Horn as the man Credit: Richard Mockler.
Maite Jauregui & Danny Horn Credit: Richard Mockler.
Danny Horn Credit: Richard Mockler.

The not too distant future is looking fairly desperate in Melissa-Kelly Franklin’s play about two unnamed people living in a time of climate catastrophe.

The young man (Danny Horn) arrives back from the docks where more boat people have landed, this time from Australia which is being ravaged by fires. He carries a small bag of all he can find in the way of food, though he is proud that it includes a rare tin of pineapples.

As they eat and celebrate the young woman’s birthday, they talk about the world they endure with its food shortages, increased poverty and shortage of jobs. Such difficulties also worry the government, which has placed severe restrictions on people that include closing down places such as theatres and universities where people might gather together and perhaps organise a protest. The exasperated young woman (Maite Jauregui) asks, “what will be next? No gatherings of more than two in public places?"

To make matters worse, the authorities have placed microchips under the skin of the pair which monitor where they are. This is probably a result of their protest history and, in a flashback, we see how they first met while blocking a bridge, she having already been arrested seventeen times, spotting that he was an inexperienced newcomer.

They have shared many things since then, including adjacent police cells after being arrested at a protest. But now, another complication in their lives worries them. The woman is pregnant. She tells him that her mother had said to her, "that it was wrong of them to bring a child into a marriage that was falling apart. Now I’m contemplating bringing a child into a world that is falling apart.”

Although this thoughtful, engaging fifty-minute play stands as a bleak warning of a grim future, it also encourages us to see that taking action can change that situation. The young man claims there is reason to hope, that through rebellion a different world is possible. He insists we should “never lose that hope. Yes, fear keeps us alive, it makes us run; but without hope, it’s a paralytic. Hope gives us something to run to.”

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna