Certain Death and Other Considerations

Certain Death and Other Considerations is a poor execution of an interesting premise. What is initially a novelty becomes confusing as the stakes for Armageddon are lowered by the fact that none of the characters will be alive to see it happen.

Poor execution of an interesting premise

80 years before the end of the world, two couples - Tom (Scott Lipman), Krysta (Kyrie Dawson) and Steph (Emma Pierce Rempel) - try to live life with the looming spectre of the apocalypse hanging over them. Certain Death and other Considerations follows how this knowledge affects their choices and relationships. There's a dark, biting kind of humour that underwrites the play, the kind of banter that occurs between close friends.

There is a philosophical argument here; is it ethical to bring life into a world that is doomed? It’s a question many young people today are asking themselves, and there is an exploration of this moral quandary throughout the show, but it keeps going around in circles. There’s a brief, vague explanation of the countdown, but it feels like that is the most interesting part of this play, and in the end, I would’ve preferred to hear more about the events surrounding the apocalypse or how the 80 years was calculated in the first place rather than following the lives of couples who are just ordinary and underwhelming in comparison. Also, the fact that the world’s supposed to end after the couples’ own lifetimes makes everything a little less urgent. The focus is too broad for the time frame allocated, and more world-building is needed, and would frankly be more interesting to watch. The non-linear structure is a little confusing as the years jump around, and the action doesn’t particularly indicate this clearly. At some point the structure choice registers, but pretty late in the show. There always seems to be something we’re missing or just not shown but it’s hard to know if it’s because of the structure or the script.

The overall concept of Certain Death and Other Considerations is curious, but the characters themselves are rather bland and because of the time frame, the sense of urgency that the characters are constantly trying to communicate never really presents itself.

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Reviews by Katerina Partolina Schwartz

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Performances

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The Blurb

The world will end in exactly 80 years – just enough time to have a baby! This devised dark comedy follows two couples (and a surrogate) as they prepare to welcome new life into a dying world. With doomsday just outside of their natural lifespan, certain death is close enough to inform every decision, but far enough away to ignore in a pinch.

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