2009 Edmonton Fringe Reviews: Day 3

When will you pack up your bags and flee Edmonton? That's the question asked by Doom 2012: When Will You Flee? Now 2012 is just a near and arbitrary date the author picked (its like 666 only twice as bad). After all, the Mayans said that the 2012 solstice is the time when the Enlightenment Age is to begin, calm down people. The author (Calgarian Doug McKeag) looks like this guy I know (also obsessed with peak oil) combined with William H. Macy, and he does a pretty entertaining multimedia presentation based upon things you'll need to add to your emergency 3-day kit in the event of some catastrophe. Some of the author's inherent Canadianism comes to the forefront: the "three day kit" was advised by Ottawa a couple years ago that every Canadian should have, as 72 hours in a disaster is anticipated as... the amount of time before the government can get to you. The government? The government?? If the only solution people can come up with in times of massive panic and life-threatening situations is waiting on the government, we're all screwed. Anyways, he starts talking about doomsday scenarios centred around 5 themes I've vaguely forgotten. Fire, flood, locusts, frogs from the sky seems roughly the order of the day. The thing that strikes the author (who has a great dig at "politics of hope" that some people may remember from last November) and keeps this from being another An Inconvenient Truth sort of "exxon is gonna kill us" rant is the sheer inevitability of some of the scenarios. As far as we can see, its a dead end road. Preparing for the possibility may be more important than taking irrational actions to correct it. Oh, anyways, after each chapter he gets people to vote on which timeframe they think that they will flee Edmonton due to the disasters he has just summarized. Here's my advise to you: do as I did and vote "D" for every one of them. Half the scenarios he paints are unlikely in a thousand lifetimes, and others are just as likely to happen in 50 years as happen in 50 hours. Then he has two "local celebrities" count up the votes (in our case, some chick and Ken Chapman -- who I was shocked to discover was sitting a couple tables in front of me). After the end of the show, they tally up your votes using some questionable use of stats to plot the mean value of a set of numbers corresponding to ranges and then determining the average date people expect to flee. Anyways, the show flirts on the edge between slightly wonky survivalist and straight out conspiracy nut, sometimes with skill and other times...Ehrlich is quoted favourably, for example, while Art Bell is a character reference. You will be entertained for an hour or so, a good fear will be put in you...and you'll come to your senses on the walk out the door (which I shall be discussing in a future post, along with some concerns with the venue).

They made a fag cry. Tearing up a uranist probably isn't the sort of thing that one should count as a data point, and that's good, because the bawling [yes, yes, that's right, let the puns go.... just let it go... -ed] homo two tables over from me seemed oddly impacted by Lysistrata, a passivist-feminist retelling of the Greek comedy of women trying to end war by withholding sex. The concept itself is sound, and redoing classic works like this let us know exactly how un-far in some ways "fringe theatre" has gone in 2420 years. Most of the plot is ripped from the wikipedia summary, but there are a few odd asides. In a brief Monty Python-esque aside, the women suddenly stop the play because they haven't got a set drop for the Acropolis, and one of the women is horny so she runs into the crowd to pick a man for....nothing, suddenly they decide to restart the play on the spot. Everybody who followed along that, raise your hands...oh, wait, still no. Anyways, as Lysistrata's trial, she appeals to the Oracle who speaks in a booming God voice to show them the future horrors of war. Bosnia, Dresden, somewhere else... then, based on this (and not the sex thing) the Oracle demands they end war. [So much for the wisdom of the Oracle then, eh? -ed] Now you could see this play for a number of reasons... they do some decent ABBA-inspired jokes and song ripoffs, the one Scottish babe with the thick accent is hot, and you get a lot of good double/triple entendres. Ultimately what you won't get is what a modern day version of Lysistata is going to be able to provide and is lacking... the ploy ultimately won't work. In the original, that's the point: unlike men, these irrational women come up with this ludicrous plan and when looked at the historical end of the Peloponnesian War (which happened before this play was written) the truth is of course known by all. We will get a chance to see if the feminist re-telling of the fringe play is correct, of course. China is facing an overwhelming number of young males who basically will be denied sex (marriage is a bit hit over there, and all the women will be taken). To tie into the Greek play here, Mark Steyn wrote in America Alone that:

By midcentury, when today’s millions of surplus boys will be entering middle age, India and China are expected to account for a combined 50 percent of global GDP. On present trends, they will be the most male-heavy societies that have ever existed. As I wrote in my book America Alone, unless China’s planning on becoming the first gay superpower since Sparta, what’s going to happen to all those excess men? As a general rule, large numbers of excitable lads who can’t get any action are not a recipe for societal stability.
Will we get less war with no sex? Or more? Methinks that the Greeks weren't onto something with this one. So sure, use Iraq and Normandy and Vietnam and 1812 all you like for the "horrors of war" spiel. In the end universal peace will be won by the same people who fought for war for centuries: the men who do the actual fighting.