On Stage

A Date with Dockery

Masterful monologist returns to town

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

For those of us who make a living connecting with performers, it can be a little off-putting when someone doesn’t respond within nanoseconds to our requests to help them hype their work.

When I hadn’t heard from actor Martin Dockery a few days after emailing him a request to pick his brain about his new fringe shows, Bursting Into Flames and The Pit—both of which can be seen Oct. 3-5 at Bellingham’s iDiOM Theater—I was a little put out. Then I crept onto his Facebook page, and realized the reason the guy didn’t get back to me was probably because he was way too busy plying his creative craft to check his email account.

In fact, the night he likely would’ve received my missive, the New York City-based thespian and world traveler was in Colorado, opening the second half of the Boulder Fringe Festival with a doubleheader. He was performing the one-man show he’s brought to Bellingham before, The Bike Trip, as well as The Pit—the play he’ll be showing here for the first time with cast mate Vanessa Quesnelle.

For clarification about Dockery’s talents, I went to iDiOM’s artistic director, Solomon Olmstead, who’s more than familiar with what the writer, performer and “monologist” brings to the stage.

“There’s only one word to describe Martin’s work: energy,” Olmstead says. “The guy brings so much to the stage every time he goes out there. He’s one of those performers who looks the audience in the eye, gets them on board with whatever crazy story he’s telling, and commands the heartbeat and breath in the room. When I’ve put the season together the last couple of years, the first call I make is to Martin, hoping he’ll be out this way one more time.”

Luckily, Olmstead once again locked Dockery into a Bellingham stop. It’ll be his fourth visit to the Cornwall Avenue theater, and Olmstead can’t wait to see the new shows—which, if past performances are any indication, will soon be titled under the directive “must-see.”

For those interested in plot machinations, Bursting Into Flames is described as a “comic tale of one man’s tenuous grasp on reality as he endures an eternity of paradise in heaven.” In The Pit, Quesnelle joins Dockery for a “fast-paced sendup of domestic bliss” in which “a husband and wife face off against a bottomless pit (and each other) in their bedroom.”

Because each of the plays will be shown a few times, audiences can pick or choose whether to see them both on one night or space out their viewing pleasure. Even if you only get a chance to see one, however, Olmstead feels safe in saying it just might be the highlight of your week.

“The great thing about Martin is that he fits right in with what we do at iDiOM,” Olmstead says. “His performances are smart, fast-paced and unexpected, much in the same vein as the Cody Rivers Show. It’s inspiring for us to have someone of Martin’s caliber come in for a weekend to show us something new and give us a new mark on the measuring stick to which we should aspire.”

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