Wastelands is the story of the last human on Earth, Hero, and her last 3 years in “plastic purgatory” otherwise known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The performance begins with a tragedy, one which only seems to really matter to Hero, but we are brought along to help find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. Hero introduces her collection of garbage puppets, Wilsonesque (Castaway) creations of hers, who act as treasurer, secretary, Vice President, and the chair of recreation committee. With these creations and a plethora of swear words she tells us about how they ended up on the island and why it’s pointless to try to leave.
Highlights of the show include the acid rain, national anthem, and the wonderful puppetry that brings the other 4 characters to life. Savanna Harvey builds a fantastical world for us and while the story is often funny it is unexpectedly sorrowful, frustrating, and intense. The work Harvey did with puppeteer coach Lindsey Zess allows the 4 puppets to become unquestionable characters with their own personalities and opinions on the situation as it unfolds.
The venue presented its own unique challenges as bring your own venue stages often do. Positioned in a parking lot Harvey is at the whim of the weather, people cutting through the alley, business sounds and the Fringe Bar down the road. She did not let any of that distract her though and should be applauded for making the best out of a tough spot. It should be noted that the provided seating is garbage themed and as such not particularly comfortable. There are chairs in the back for those with mobility challenges. The venue accommodates about 30 people, so it’s a very intimate experience. Lighting is particularly tough in this area as early evening showings take you from dusk to night. Harvey has positioned bare bulbs around for light. Although thematically appropriate, they are tough on the eyes.
Finding your check in spot and venue is a bit tricky so the instructions are in my video. Check in occurs at the BYOV c tent on the north side of Cartwright St.
Wastelands by Pretentious Productions is playing in the Micon Parking Lot 6 - 16 September as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Brieanna Fiander
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