Losing what grounds our very existence, beautiful and awful, is terrifying to face.
Maron Doll gets points for head-on tackling a subject that not many playwrights or productions have the will to do. The subject matter isn’t pretty. It isn’t popular. In fact, it may be as difficult to ask an audience to sit through, as perhaps as dealing with its very realities.
Writer/director, Soo Chyun’s, Maron Doll, originally introduced as a 25-minute Korean short in an anthology known as The Door, is the story of a mother and daughter’s struggles through abandonment, failure, poverty, and Alzheimer’s disease.
One night, after 30 years apart, a daughter returns to her lonely mother. With a bitter history between them, the two struggle to mend their broken bond ridden in a tragic circumstance. Maron Doll explores a difficult relationship and how we can rebuild bridges we thought were long-since burned.
Thoughtful and cathartic, this production was beautifully showcased in the Studio/Stage space during its official Fringe run, largely narrated by a ‘trail of tears’ and often aggressive confrontation by the daughter, whose myopia of her own internal conflict eventually takes into account her mother’s broader trajectory, during the second half. The emotional bombardment is, on one hand, quite potent, and on the other, in need of an occasional directorial ‘reign in’.
Nevertheless, the impact is there. And in 50 minutes, a lifetime of loss, need, regret, recovery, forgiveness and future is expositioned extraordinarily well.
And if the ongoing audience sniffles are any indication at all, as they are, Maron Doll is very much hitting all the right notes and pulling quite a few heartstrings.