Sometimes parallelism is the engine that propels you through text that would otherwise be scattershot, allowing it to mean something greater than the sum of its parts.
Sometimes parallelism gets mannered, or just repetitive, such that you stop hearing what's being said because the cadence is so distracting, one of those forest/trees type things.
Sometimes parallelism is most effective when it's overcome, when one entry on the list runs away with itself and becomes its own little involuted yokeamabob, such that you're afforded a welcome change in rhythm as a space opens up within the structure in which you can breathe and think to yourself 'Ooh this is nice, I'm actually getting to think one specific thought for a wee while, rather than having to keep up with a barrage of quippy aphorisms which cumulatively suggest some larger theme of lonely disempowerment in The Unjust World That It Is Today, and come to think of it this moment for deeper reflection is what keeps the quippiness from becoming platitudinous, true but trite, only offering us a very coarse-grained picture of what it is to live in The Unjust World That It Is Today.
Sometimes is the beginning of pretty much every sentence in Ursula Martinez's Free Admission, and at different points I felt each of the above things about it. On balance, for me, it was more of a tic than a tick. It skirted quippy and empty, but never quite reached insightful.
Martinez herself is a very charming and very sensitive performer, alive to little reactions in her audience. The process of Free Admission, in which she builds a wall in the viewing window of her puppet-booth-ish set, is hypnotic. Line of mortar, brick after brick, line of mortar, brick after brick. The playful anticlimaxes that bookended the show were a lot of fun, deflating audience expectation of a song-so-everyone-leaves-happy-style finish even as they created it. The fact that there was a coda where she DID in fact run around nudey with no clothes on to Rocky's Theme was a gas and thematic rugpull.
Dylan for DRAFF
Free Admission by Ursula Martinez runs at Project Arts Centre from 9th - 10th June 2017.
Posted 10th June 2017.