by Josh Wagner
Produced by Viscosity Theater
RINGING OUT’s First Review
A generation after the end of the world, one family of survivalists have made a life for themselves far below the surface of the earth.
RINGING OUT is a dark comedy set in the bunker of an aging survivalist (Rick) who predicted the demise of society. He built the bunker as a safe haven for his wife (Kendra) and a young girl (Mandolin), who they rescued from the post-apocalyptic destruction. The story begins fifteen years or so after their descent.
Throughout the play an unraveling takes place, incited by Mandolin’s search for a memory–something she remembers as Christmas. Her re-creations become a skewed interpretation of what had been. Their safe haven is further upset by the arrival of a Stranger, with whom Mandolin connects. The complex relationships between the family members are darkly moving as they discover their place in the new world. Ringing out is about creating new traditions and values after the old have disintegrated, but it is also about how some things, such as the impulse toward freedom and the bonds of family, never change.
The dark side of the Christmas season doesn’t get much attention anymore. It’s a dark time of year, and fighting against the darkness is the point of the holiday. So we set the story after the end of the world, about as bleak as it gets. Ringing Out is about how things fall apart, and how new traditions can spring out the ashes.