Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review: (Edmonton) Moby Alpha (Fringe)

Nerd Porn
by Rebecca Edgewood
It isn’t always easy to be a nerd. Some of us sit alone at home, reaching out for companionship on the Internet. Others attend large-scale ‘Comicon’ –type conferences, clad in costumes or wearing t-shirts from Star Trek or Doctor Who.  And other nerds – well, other nerds build a couple of crazy cool space helmets, rework the story of Moby Dick.  “Which,” as one of the characters asserts in an aside, “Nobody has actually read, anyway,” to involve a Martian, a robot and a giant spaceship, and they present it as part of the Edmonton Fringe Festival.

Moby Alpha is the dramatic embodiment of ‘nerd porn’ – a narrative rife with references to Sci Fi movies and television shows, characters that spoof iconic Sci Fi figures, and those helmets they wear…

Charlie Stockman and Chuck Armstrong play Ishmael and Queequeg (among other characters), two space workers out to harvest a giant energy cloud (‘giant’…you know, like a giant whale…). Nerdy hilarity ensues. Really, though, these two actors could act out a reading of the phone book, if they would only do it using those amazing space helmets. Equipped with LED lighting and some sort of switch, and with the theatre lights dimmed throughout, one character is lit up green, the other pink, yet another red. It adds a surreal element to a show that is presented without set or many props, and makes the audience feel like they are venturing through space “Where no-one can hear you applaud” right along with Ishmael and Queequeg.

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