Imagine a world where you needed to apply for a suicide. You would travel to a government owned Suicide Center, fill out stacks of paperwork (similar to filing out mortgages or taxes), and then choose the method in which you would die. Such is a world in Samuel Birntkrant’s one-act play, “The Termination.”
“The Termination” will be a part of Fringe Fest Erie this year, courtesy of director and senior pre-medical student Conor Grey. “The Termination” stars Kayla Scully as Emily; a girl who is fed up with life’s struggles and chooses to apply for suicide. Miss X, played by Jade Mitchell, is the worker at the Suicide Center that interacts with Emily. When a parakeet, a previous possession of a recent “terminee,” is brought into the waiting room, Emily is forced to ponder life and the role of the government.
Grey claims that he was drawn to “The Termination” because “it reminded me of a mixture of ‘1984,’ ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘GATTACA,’ all of which are modern works that toy with the idea of absolute governmental power.”
Fans of Orwell’s other works of fiction that depict dystopian societies are sure to enjoy this production. Additionally, the production features a few twists and turns within the story.
“I like the show because it has a really interesting plot twist,” said Khadija Djellouli, who plays a worker for the Suicide Center.
While the show’s subject may seem a little grim, Grey claims that the production has quite a few comical bits. “It’s mainly written with a lot of dark humor, so the audience members should often find themselves laughing only to question as to why they laughed.”
Grey is also adding some humor by incorporating quirks into the production. “The script isn’t completely fleshed out, so we’ve had a fun time creating a lot of moments that aren’t in the script, but really add to the show.”
Audience members can expect to be thoroughly entertained throughout the 40-minute run time. “The Termination” is a show that wishes to inspire audience members and get them thinking.
“I hope audiences walk away from the show thinking about the relationship between government and personal liberty,” said Grey. “This is the dilemma that exists at the very heart of the problems addressed in ‘The Termination:’ Are we as a society ready to allow the government care for us from cradle to tomb, literally?”
If you’re seeking science fiction stories, unconventional humor, or just need a bit of inspiration, “The Termination” premieres during Fringe Fest Erie on March 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $5, and will benefit the students traveling to Scotland for the Fringe Festival held in August.