by Josh Wagner
Produced by Viscosity Theater
Directed by: Rebecca Schaffer, Set Design by: Daniel Scott Morris
Starring: Howard Kingston,
A generation after the end of the world, one family of survivalists has made a life for itself 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 the couple 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 whimsical recreations become a skewed interpretation of what once was. The arrival of a mysterious Stranger, with whom Mandolin connects, further upsets their haven of isolation. Dark and complex relationships challenge the family 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 family, never change.
“The dark side of the Christmas season doesn’t get much attention anymore. On the sunless side of the year, an unspoken the point of the holiday is the fight against the darkness. So I set the story after the end of the world, one of our bleakest shared imaginary spaces. Ringing Out explores social entropy, how easily things fall apart, but how new traditions spring out the ashes.”