The Other Side of the Flood is a "spoken word musical theatre" performance created by David Lee Morgan. It's a one man show with multiple characters portrayed by Morgan with the help of some recordings representing additional characters in the piece. The title presumably is biblical, from the Book of Joshua, and would likely be a reference to the future temporal setting of the play – post apocalypse.
The 'action' takes place in the future "on the eve of a worldwide socialist revolution" in the year 2035. Morgan's idea for this piece apparently came out experiences related to his interest in previous significant revolutions: the French Revolution and the Paris Commune, The Russian Revolution, and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. In response to the notion that we will never see the like of those great social upheavals again, Morgan felt compelled to imagine it as a possibility and create this theatrical piece.
Morgan has 'cred' when it comes to poetry and performance. He has a Ph. D. in creative writing, has been published both in numerous publications as well as books, and has been very successful in the UK appearing in many festivals and Poetry Slams of note.
The story involves some people from the opposite ends of the earth - Los Angeles, Bengal, and Dhaka - who are all involved in working toward the goal of a global socialist revolution. They are also living in a time when science has found a way to 'download' a person's brain to create a digital version of the person. Even as I write this I have trouble understanding how these people came to be in relationship and what the point of the story is, especially the digital brain part.
The story is intended to be an apocalyptic vision of the future, wherein we humans are still living in the conflict of good versus evil, socialism versus capitalism, humanism versus religion - at least that is what I gleaned from it. It was, at critical times, difficult to understand some of the poetry so there were gaps in the narrative for me.
Despite this I mostly really liked the poetry. I think this performance piece could be successful if it were professionally staged and performed by a more credible actor, with higher quality lighting, props, sound, and staging. Morgan alone doesn't have the chops to create the atmosphere and emotional charge that the play demands. The play is interesting but may be damning it by faint praise, but the best I can say.
The Other Side of the Flood by David Lee Morgan is playing at the False Creek Gym 6 - 16 September as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Evelyn McKelvie
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