Using recursion or repetition to draw a listener into a narrative is an age-old technique, perhaps as ancient as storytelling itself. Following in the footsteps of the cyclical story structures of fairy tales and philosophical epics alike, Martin Dockery takes full advantage of this grand tradition in his new show The Exclusion Zone.
With his signature mixture of childlike wonder and mature thought, Dockery delves into his love for a certain book, which details the author’s love for a certain movie, which seemed to predict a certain event several years before it occurred – namely, the meltdown at Chernobyl and the birth of the Exclusion Zone.
The majority of the tale is so abstract that you’d hesitate to call it a story rather than a simple treatise on art and life, unadorned by plot or adventure as they are usually understood. Yet even through segments expressly designed to be dry and plodding, Dockery’s powerful storytelling abilities and natural charisma keep the audience fascinated.
Also worthy of note is that Dockery makes recordings of his previous shows available for purchase, something that I have always wished more artists would do! Not that I would ever give up the immediacy of live theatre, of having seen Bursting Into Flames and nowExclusion firsthand. It’s just nice sometimes to have a memento to supplement my all-too-human memory, helping to keep Dockery’s voice fresh and inspiring in my head.
Reviewed at the 2015 Victoria Fringe Festival by Max D’Ambrosio