‘Toil and Rubble’ shows unique post-apocalyptic perspectives

By Chase Myers

Depicting the ‘end of days’ through performance has been done many ways with many angles. The movie “I Am Legend” depicted it as a virus fallout and its aftermath, where as movies in “The Matrix” Trilogy depict it as a machine takeover that has sparked an ongoing war between man and machine.

Lindsey Greer, a graduate student from Clare, Mich., studying performance, has created her own performance piece featuring a unique set of perspectives on the apocalypse.

The production, titled “Toil and Rubble: Media in Ruin,” was co-directed by Greer and Craig Gingrich-Philbrook and will premier at 8 p.m. on Thursday with following shows at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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The show is about three different personas: a Girl Scout named Lucy, who lives in an abandoned library in Detroit, a dream editor named Ida and a spiritual medium named Lucita Foxx, who communicates with the ghosts of dead media.

Greer said these characters came to her at different times in life and she will perform “Toil and Rubble” as a solo piece, meaning Greer will play each separate character herself.

“Plenty of people have done [solo performances] with like one character and it’s been phenomenal, but with me I just like working with multiple characters … I wouldn’t want to be the same person the entire time,” she said.

Greer said the show plays with the apocalyptic and dystopian society themes and uses tones that are broadly surrealist.

“The show deals a lot with memory and materiality and also apocalyptic themes,” she said.

The production also focuses on the re-emergence of old media outlets and relates to people as a whole being constantly updated with new technologies.

“I think it’s a lot about the human impulse, like to be creative and survive and have a sense of self,” she said. “We’re so small, but we still figure out a way to create and for our lives to have significance.”

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Greer worked very close with co-director and “co-voice” Craig Gingrich-Philbrook during rehearsal.

“I really enjoy helping her bring the world that she has in her mind out on the stage,” Gingrich-Philbrook said.

The script was written prior to the actual in-theatre rehearsal process, but it is left open to allow Greer freedom of expression throughout the performance.

“Its an open performance style,” Gingrich-Philbrook said. “It is certainly scripted, but there is also a kind of subtle improvisational aspect to it that we’ve worked to develop over the rehearsal process.”

Both Greer and Gingrich-Philbrook have directed in the past, but the two also have a very similar sense of humor, so it is much easier to work together, he said.

“It has certainly been a trouble-free collaboration,” he said.

The Kleinau is known for having performances that fit well with the aesthetic of the theatre, and “Toil and Rubble” is no exception.

“All three of the characters work in open focus, which means that the character is aware of the audience and is speaking to the audience,” he said. “One of the things that the Kleinau really allows is for that kind of intimacy, so Lindsey is definitely making work that is keeping with the space.”

The Kleinau may just be the beginning for the actual production as Greer will perform it beyond this week’s shows.

“We’re going to the Patti Pace Performance Festival in February and I’m looking for other venues beyond that,” Greer said.

Greer is looking to travel around with the show and hopefully present her unique post-apocalyptic perspectives to various crowds.

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