After charming Holden Street audiences with last year’s Love Letters to the Public Transport System, Molly Taylor establishes herself as an Adelaide Fringe favourite with Extinguished Things.
Taylor’s Extinguished Things, the Adelaide Critics’ Circle Fringe Award week one winner, is another breathtaking monologue from the Liverpudlian playwright and actor that makes everyday experiences of ordinary people seem extraordinary. While last year’s Love Letters to the Public Transport System was an ode to public transport workers, this year’s Extinguished Things celebrates the relationship of a childless neighbourhood couple at the end of their lives.
Taylor explains what it is that attracts her to stories of the everyday: “If you think of our lives as little diamonds and you look at the full diamond, it’s twinkly and bright,” she says. “If you look at every façade of it, every tiny little face of it, they all add up to something quite extraordinary. But in drilling down into those ordinary, very ordinary, moments and stories, if you can unpick something for a story that is really commonplace and flip it, you can elevate it to something that can seem quite rich or insightful and profound. I always get transported by those stories that lull me into seeing life from a slightly different perspective.
“I’m sure for some people, as audience members, it might be really tedious but for me it’s about capturing that essence of our lives, which are so fleeting, and those strands of things, which are so normal and everyday, but hold all of the important stuff.”
Extinguished Things finds a mid-30s Molly Taylor returning home to Liverpool to live with her parents. Her older neighbours Alton and Evie are missing and Taylor has their key. She lets herself into their house and explores a lifetime of collected things and, by doing so, unravels an amazing take about a couple, who, on the surface, seem quite humdrum.
“I’m really into the theme of legacy and what actually gets passed down,” Taylor says. “What if the couple are the end of their bloodlines, at the point of which they are no longer living, what gets passed down and what gets collected? Do their lives stop? How does their spirit live on? I was just interested in that. I think it’s a rare thing. Often older couples have children and grandchildren, and a lot of people in my generation, I’m in my mid-30s, don’t have kids yet and we may never have kids.”
Extinguished Things, along with Build A Rocket, won Holden Street Theatres’ 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Award, which allowed Taylor to bring the show to Adelaide following her Love Letters to the Public Transport System season last year. Taylor says there is something special about coming to a place like Holden Street.
“It has such a loyal audience base,” she says. “The distinction, I think, from my experience in Edinburgh and I had a great run in Edinburgh, it sold out and I did okay, but I found it so hard. It’s a really punishing place to be. It’s so glorious when you come to Adelaide, it’s 10 degrees warmer and the people are 10 degrees warmer. I had a great experience last year and I didn’t expect to repeat it this year, but so far, I’ve got to say, Adelaide audiences really want you to be here. At the Edinburgh Fringe, everyone is fed up, everyone’s got Fringe fatigue after about four days, and you’re the eighth show of the day, and they’re out of it. Here, audiences come and they want to be here and, for people like me who are far from home, it’s such a pleasure.”
Until Sunday, March 3
Holden Street Theatres, The Studio