We The People

Mercury Fur

Subversive Theatre Collective  ~ Elliot ~ January 23rd - February 8th, 2020

Mercury Fur

by Phillip Ridley
Subversive Theatre Collective ~ Elliot ~ January 17th - February 8th, 2020

I auditioned for this show summer 2019. I was sent the script to read in advance to make sure this was material I was comfortable with. Late in the evening, after reading a lengthy monologue on page 33, I put the script down and walked away from the material. 

What did I just read? What is this show?

After a few minutes away, I picked it back up again and read on. By the time I finished the piece, I was terrified, but in love. The piece is verbally dense. Not only with the poetry of how the characters speak, but dealing with practically every trigger warning imaginable. I'm not exaggerating. I knew I had to be in this show. 

I was cast as Elliot, a 19 year old boy who facilitates parties and deals butterflies which act as a dangerous hallucinogenic drug. He walks with a limp. This character holds an incredibly special place in my heart.

A month before we were to begin rehearsals, I ended up in the hospital due to Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS). GBS is an autoimmune disease which kills your nerve cells. This left me paralyzed throughout practically my whole body. I spent about 9 days in the ICU, most of which intubated. The next 12 days or so, I would rest and slowly re-learn how to use my whole body.

Ever have to re-learn how to walk? I don't recommend it. However, with time, work, and the brilliant staff at Buffalo General Medical, I was able to. This wasn't fun. This wasn't easy. Especially having missed a month of my first semester of college. But, I managed to recover enough by the first day of Mercury Fur rehearsals. 

Elliot having the limp due to a traumatic event, and myself having just gone through a traumatic event which took away my mobility, was an odd, but deeply needed connection for me. 

The cast and crew behind this production were phenomenal and I am counting down the days till I work with them all again. The show received wonderful reviews and was nominated for Best Ensemble in a Play at the 2019-2020 Artie Awards which have been postponed due to COVID.

"The upstart crows at Subversive Theatre, many of whom are recent or current college students, are making a formidable and enthusiastic impact with a production that is detailed, engaging, and deliciously shocking."

"Cullen, whose character limps and views the world as a series of life and death choices, successfully imbues the man with overbearing authority belied by an undercurrent of fear. It is a precarious combination, critical to the play’s resolution."