Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Review of Runaways Lab Theater's Mary Shelley Sees the Future

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Mary Shelley Sees the Future. It was written and directed by Olivia Lilley. It was about Mary Shelley (Sarah Patin then Lindsey Tindall) swapping lives with Mya (Lindsey Tindall then Sarah Patin), a girl from 2016, and both are very excited to be in the other person and learn new things. It tackles a lot of great topics: feminism, sexuality, and art. It's about finding yourself, how far and how little we've come, and what it means to truly connect with someone. I really liked the show. It was so much fun to be at even though it was not at a normal theater space. I really enjoyed it.

Once Mary Shelley as Mya has started to settle in with her girlfriend Angelica (Natalie Joyce Smith), they were hanging out and Mary had an idea for a book all about monsters that were cars. And Juan (Nico Fernandez) says that that is just Cars the movie. And she gets very upset at Pixar, which I thought was very hilarious. She thinks Pixar is a single person who has a bunch of life-changing ideas. Then she feels like her work doesn't belong in this time because everyone has already had all the ideas. That is a really sad idea: that everything has been thought already. But people can elaborate on old ideas, and that is where things like fan fiction or this play come into the picture. People will continue to give us new stories. Old ideas can be new; as long as there is a new way of telling them.

I think one of the most moving scenes was on the beach in 2016. There was this guy who was Angelica's friend named Pete (Peter Wilde). And he is listening to Rhianna's "Work" and singing along very passionately while he is running, and he stops running to talk to Mary as Mya. And they get into this in-depth conversation about identity and feeling like you are not in your own body. Pete is transgender and Mya is Mary Shelley, so they get into this very sweet conversation and they discover they are more alike than they think. Everything slowed down for a second and they really connected.

Mya as Mary Shelley seemed very proud of herself and especially that her mom Mary Wollstonecraft was the first feminist. And whenever anyone would talk about her, she would say under her breath, "First feminist," and I thought that was really funny. She is very proud of the accomplishments that "she" (as Mary Shelley) has done. But Mya discovers how awful it used to be for women back in Mary Shelley's time and how scary it used to be for them. Women could have their children taken away from them because their husband had died. They weren't allowed to explore their sexuality without being considered wicked or speak their minds without being thought of as weird.

People who would like this show are people who like first feminists, new twists on old ideas, and "work work work work work." This was a fun show and I feel like they did a lot of brave and awesome things. I'm glad I saw it.

Photo: Matthew Gregory Hollis

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