Backstory: I loved the first Rogue Festival show by Martin Dockery I saw, “The Bike Trip,” back in 2013, a recreation of history’s very first LSD experience. I called it a “textured, poignant and very funny experience.” I hated the next Dockery show I experienced, in 2014, titled “Dark Fantastic,” a bizarre series of interconnected tales featuring a main character who makes art by concentrating a stream of vomit through one overtaxed nostril. I described it as a “labored, preening, pretentious mush.”
Now, in 2017, I’m firmly back in the Dockery camp. I’m here with shout-it-from-the-rooftop acclaim for Dockery’s “Delirium,” a beautifully written, deftly performed, bruisingly intimate outing that offers sophisticated humor and a strong emotional punch.
I’m really glad we’ve made up.
The Brooklyn-based Dockery is a powerhouse performer, his words often tumbling out in a flurry of eager prose, and at the Saturday evening performance of “Delirium” I saw, his often gravelly voice added even more resonance to the material. Once again using the device of interconnected stories, he presents three highly personal tales that all touch on the themes of connection and intimacy.
The first, about a marriage proposal, is amiable and warm. Then he shifts into an amusing recollection of a plan to create a pop-up restaurant selling “strawberry sandwiches” at the Burning Man Festival, and in an expertly calibrated twist guides the audience into darker emotional territory.
Finally, a third story about a beloved dog, an agonizing airplane flight and the sheer wonder of butterflies seals the deal, provoking both guffaws and tears. Through it all, Dockery’s crisp writing pays off time and again with strong images for the audience (a muffin consumed in an torrent of nervousness at an airport, a desert sky exploding with stars, a frail canine still able to muster the strength to wag a tail). He’s adept at weaving those concrete details into larger intellectual and emotional throughlines. I won’t soon forget how he connects butterfly migration to the human experience.
It’s all the product of a master storyteller. My third go-around with Dockery was definitely charmed.
- 6:30 p.m. March 6, 5 p.m. March 10, 8 p.m. March 11
- Dianna’s Studio of Dance, 826 N. Fulton St.