FRINGE 2018 CRITIC'S PICK: 'The Amphibian'

"The Amphibian" depicts the aftermath of a military occupation, where the modern outsiders are put at odds with the old world religion

click to enlarge 'The Amphibian' - Photo: Diana Cardenas
Photo: Diana Cardenas
'The Amphibian'

The Amphibian depicts the aftermath of a military occupation, where the modern outsiders are put at odds with the old world religion that seems like witchcraft to the uninitiated. A brutal foreign commander uses any means necessary to quash the rebellions that spread like napalm among his “liberated” subjects, so he employs the morally malleable intellectual Serko to spread misinformation in support of his military agenda in a way that orchestrates the public sentiment to accept this regime change, despite the brutality of the mercenaries who “bring peace” with savage force.

A street preacher named Damantha is used by the military interests as a talking head, sure to appeal to the war torn citizens of the unnamed country by speaking to them through their old-world god, even though her words are contorted, completely reversing her original meaning. While Damantha is repulsed by the invading army’s methods, she is compelled to continue defending them for the sake of relief supplies and equipment desperately needed to address the starvation and sickness that follows every war like a shadow. The street preacher befriends a goodhearted drunk with a shameful double life and learns that good and evil are not so clearly distinguished in the frenzy of war.

The Amphibian illustrates that “proximity to power has its perks,” although the loss of one’s soul can never be fully replaced with expensive whiskey and sumptuous banquets among the starving. Reveling in this chaos are jackals, who feast on the corpses of both sides, showing the true victors of war are the carrion eaters. At the end of the day, despite your alliances, we’re all meat.

This show is darkly funny, heartbreaking, thought-provoking and entertaining. There’s no right way to win a war and, as we learn from the characters, there are infinite ways to lose. Luckily, The Amphibian is a winner.

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