Reviews - Fringe 2018

The Emergency Monologues

By Arthur Bullock
Published July 26, 2018

The Emergency Monologues
The Emergency Monologues

Emergencies are never an easy thing to deal with, least of all life emergencies. Nobody knows this better than a paramedic, who deals with problems from the mild to the severe on a daily basis. Rarely do you ever hear the honest truth about a paramedic's duty, but The Emergency Monologues aim to give you exactly that.

Morgan Jones Philips, the storyteller in question, has been working as a paramedic for 14 years. This well of life experience has translated into a wheel containing 46 different stories, and the order is decided in a manner befitting a game show.

Humorously, the show's introduction, disclaimer and conclusion are also entries on the wheel, which Philips forces the wheel to land on at the appropriate times. Only a small portion of the available stories is recounted in a single night, ensuring that each audience sees something different.

By Philips' own admission, this precludes a narratively satisfying order of stories. However, when the format is so unique and the stories are so intriguing, I hardly think that matters.

The arbitrary, random nature of the wheel is very similar to a paramedic's job. You never know what you're going to get, and while some experiences may be humorous, others may be decidedly more serious. The show is absolutely fascinating to watch, and it is already my sincere hope that Philips brings it back in the future.

After all, the wheel of misfortune can be a cruel mistress, and I would hate to see so many good stories go untold.

Arthur Bullock is a fourth year Communication Studies student at McMaster University. As a reviewer, he combines his two favourite hobbies: theatre and writing.

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