The Unplugging, written by Yvette Nolan and directed by Nina Lee Aquino, is a post-apocalypse story. We’ve seen it before. But not like this.
It is set in a fictional world but presents us with biting issues – sexism, ageism, the need for human interaction and the fear of losing your culture as time passes by.
The world loses electricity and the masses are losing their minds. In an attempt to survive and build a strong community, Elena (Diana Belshaw) and Bern (Allegra Fulton) are deemed as useless, thus exiled and forced to fend for themselves and start a life of their own – alone.
Without Google for guidance, the two women have to use the survival skills that the majority of their community abandoned for technology. They scour the land for food, they hunt, they start fires and they protect their resources with everything they have. That is, until Seamus (Umed Amin) shows up and shakes things up once again. Trusting him could cost them their lives, but the spunky and sexually deprived Bern might just be willing to take the risk.
Belshaw and Fulton make a comical couple, igniting laughter throughout the show. With Belshaw playing the rigid, dogmatic control freak and Fulton playing the capricious and optimistic free spirit, the duo cannot help but butt heads over just about everything – including Seamus.
A set design by Camellia Koo has yet to disappoint this critic and this design is no different. A simple, snowy barren land is constructed with bunches of white material and a scrim is used to depict both Elena and Bern’s new home and a cliff top and a full moon (or an almost full moon) off in the distance, to where Bern runs for refuge.
The Unplugging is a struggle between trust and survival. It is a battle of instincts.
Presented by Factory Theatre and Native Earth Performing Arts, the play is successful in producing an Indigenous voice, but it's not an exclusive voice. The characters are aboriginal, but the actors playing the protagonists are not and this does not only highlight the skill and versatility of Belshaw and Fulton specifically, but more importantly, the universality of the story being told.
The Unplugging runs at Factory Theatre until April 5th. For more information visit www.factorytheatre.ca