In an exquisitely crafted monologue, Molly Taylor delivers a riveting and deeply nuanced meditation on the fragility of life and legacy.
Fellow theatre fiends will remember Taylor’s 2018 Adelaide Fringe offering, Love Letters to the Public Transport System. If you enjoyed that sparkling jaunt through true tales of gratitude for ordinary moments, your heart will swell with love for Extinguished Things.
Molly is now mid-thirties, single, and back in the childhood bedroom of her parents' flat in Liverpool. Stuck in her non-future. In the junk drawer, the spare keys to Alton and Evie's place, a few doors down. When it becomes apparent these family friends will not return from their holiday, Molly can't resist letting herself into this fragile shell of two lives left behind.
Rifling through old letters, vinyl records, books and other ephemera – tokens of a life – Molly falls backwards into Alton and Evie's secret history. She explores memories of relatives lost to war, of race riots, of sickness, of loss and friendship, conflict and chaos, peace and refuge. Of the “foolish exhilaration of it all.”
Taylor has a gift for lulling an audience into nostalgic reverie, the joy in the mundane, then with only the slightest of turns, opening a can of unsettling reflection. She achieves this without drama, without explosion – just the subtlest of shifts. She brings the audience from understanding chuckles to thoughtful tears in a mere handful of words.
Taylor’s language is naturalistic and yet entirely original. Seemingly disparate ideas are connected so smoothly but powerfully, it's like a rising tide lapping at the edges of your consciousness. You barely catch a glimpse of the core within the layers, when this meandering tale is packed away into the desk drawer, the key slipped through the letter box, and the door closed forever.
Extinguished Things, part of the reliably excellent offerings at Holden Street Theatres this Fringe season, plays until 3 March. Tickets can be purchased here. For the scriptwriters out there, Molly Taylor is also hosting two lunchtime workshops on writing a dramatic monologue, on 23 February and 2 March.