Fringe review: Delirium

DELIRIUM by Martin Dockery (Dockery). At Tarragon Mainspace. July 8 at 1:45 pm, July 10 at 8:30 pm, July 11.

DELIRIUM by Martin Dockery (Dockery). At Tarragon Mainspace. July 8 at 1:45 pm, July 10 at 8:30 pm, July 11 at 7 pm, July 12 at noon, July 14 at 4:15pm, July 15 at 4 pm. See listing. Rating: NNNNN

Martin Dockery has brought Toronto what may be his most personal and universal tale yet.

Already renowned as one of the finest storytellers on the Fringe circuit, Dockery is a verbal magician who narrates with his whole body, who sees the extraordinary in the ordinary and by telling his stories helps raise our own level of awareness.

His present narrative is composed of episodes that superficially seem to have little to do with each other. We hear how he met Vanessa, his Canadian girlfriend of four years how she was detained at the airport by US Immigration how he set up a restaurant at the Burning Man festival how he finally read his grandfathers book on butterflies and how his beloved dog Lucy died.

Dockerys narration of this seeming miscellany of events is hilarious and harrowing by turns.

While we wonder what links them all, we notice subtly recurring phrases and images as Dockery builds up connections. One constant is that the stories all take place in a godless, uncaring universe where life on earth is completely insignificant. A phrase from The Flaming Lips song Do You Realize? keeps coming back: everyone you know someday will die.

By the end we see that in looking at events from an ordinary life Dockery has tackled one of the central questions in existentialism: How do we create meaning in a world that is inherently meaningless?

One of the answers, as Dockery so beautifully demonstrates, is by telling stories.

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