Dane Eissler’s “Forever Fetal”

Illustrations by Dane Eissler

It’s a sperm-meets-egg story. From pre-conception to conception to pregnancy to birth to, well, RE-pregnancy and RE-birth… Dane Eissler’s Forever Fetal follows the story of a fetus resisting change and fearing to move on.

Performed at the Gorilla Tango theatre in Chicago, IL, Forever Fetal was written and directed by Eissler and features a cast of five performers: Tyler Garamella, Gilly Guire, Claire Kane, Devin Sanclemente, and Layne Marie Williams. Joseph Wesolowski is the show’s stage manager as well as the lighting and sound designer. Hannah Dobratz provides costume and makeup design, and Ashley Donegan serves as the assistant stage manager.

Forever Fetal is a highly narrative piece, and all performers for this show were cast through an audition process that involved the individuals telling a personally meaningful story. Tyler Garamella, who is cast as the forever fetus, said the part was “cathartic” for him to play, reflective of his own struggles with facing change and embracing the fear of the unknown. “Forever Fetal represents the notion that while we can’t always control what happens in life, we can control our reaction to it,” commented fellow performer Devin Sanclemente.

Tyler Garamella plays the role of the ‘forever’ fetus

Eissler ‘birthed’ the idea for this show based on the image of a fetus played by a full-grown person. Inspired by his own life experiences, he created Forever Fetal to represent “The fear of moving away, of growing up, of facing life for all its new and unexpected challenges.”

The show, itself, is new and unexpected. Filled with baby dolls and puppet projection, full sound and lighting effects, and a cast with haunting dark makeup and a chorus of voices that sustain for the length of the piece, Forever Fetal demands a visceral response from its audience. It’s edgy, funny and unique. It will leave you bewildered, amused, disgusted, impressed, and contemplative. One viewer commented, “It’s hard to compare it to anything else… because it isn’t like anything else.”

So does the fetus really remain a fetus, forever? Does he stay with the familiar or eventually embrace life outside the womb? The show ends on a seemingly ambiguous note, begging for a “to be continued” sign. But maybe it doesn’t need one because the ending is up to the audience to determine.

When you’re at the end of your rope (or *cough* umbilical cord), do you use it to pull yourself back to safety, or face the fear of letting go so that you might start to really live? Dane Eissler’s Forever Fetal presents the question in an abstract, yet very real way.

 

Recommended.

Next show is October 29th, 2015 at 8pm. For additional information and shows, please visit facebook.com/forever.fetal

 

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