Welcome to 2113 and to another play set in the not-really-that-distant future. It’s Mildred’s birthday. She is turning 150. She’s had enough and wants to kill herself but her cyborg son wants her to ‘transition’ into a PPod (a People Pod - that is, essentially, to live on as an existence in a computer screen). Touching on interesting ideas about the negative developments of convenience-driven technology, human interaction and what makes life worth living for after 150 years.
A simple but curious set creates the sense of a room, divided by tape on the floor, including a desk and remnants of a computer, a sofa and a table in the corner supporting 3 computer screens, one of which contains footage of a man speaking silently and then starting to doze off. Mildred (Jean Brookner), the birthday girl, and her son, Albert (V. Orion Delwaterman) talk about Mildred’s imminent birthday celebration. Mildred is keen to reminisce, representing the past, whereas Albert is a strong advocate of the benefits of the present developments and future possibilities. The interactions between mother-and-son are entertaining, with strong performances on both sides, particularly Brookner, who carries off the stubborn and mischievous character of Mildred with conviction and consistency and is the most enjoyable to watch. Filled with nostalgia for the ‘true beauty’ of the past, Mildred relives memories, trying to help Albert understand the value of the natural over the artificial and manufactured.
The most unique part about this production I found were the PPods played on the computer screens and to which the actors performed in time. These performances were highly amusing at times and added something really distinctive to the piece as a whole.
Good fun and with some interesting use of set and great acting performances, Expiration Date is a pleasant way to spend an hour of your afternoon at the Fringe.