Fringe 2015 review: "The Exclusion Zone"

Martin Dockery in "The Exclusion Zone" at the 2015 Orlando Fringe - Photo via Martin Dockery
Photo via Martin Dockery
Martin Dockery in "The Exclusion Zone" at the 2015 Orlando Fringe
In the past few years, we’ve followed monologue master Martin Dockery to a beach in Vietnam, across a Stephen King-esque dark wasteland, on an acid-fueled bicycle trip, and even to (shudder) Orlando’s Holy Land Experience. But The Exclusion Zone, which is having its world premiere at the Orlando Fringe, may be his most fraught voyage yet.

Dockery tells the story of his recent trip through the Ukraine to the Pripyat Exclusion Zone, the 10,000-square-mile no-man’s-land surrounding the site of the infamous Chernobyl nuclear disaster. He interweaves his exploration of creepy abandoned buildings (always populated by decaying baby dolls, for some reason) with an appreciation of Geoff Dyer’s “Zona,” a novel-length dissection of a pretentious 1970s Russian sci-fi film about a similar forbidden journey.

Part comic travelogue, part transcendental meditation on the lure of the off-limits, and always entertaining, The Exclusion Zone could use a touch of tightening to achieve the impact of Dockery’s earlier works, but it’s still another must-see. This might seem to be “a show about a book about a movie,” but it’s really about the quest for “undiminished wonder” that Dockery fearlessly pursues, like we all wish we could.

Martin Dockery - Brooklyn, NY
Venue: Yellow
Length: 60 minutes
Rating: all ages 
Price: $11 

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