The Last Minutes Before Mars
Darren O’Donnell – Mammalian Diving Reflex
Running time 90’
We look longingly into the night sky at that small red dot and foolishly dream of beginning again, as if our daily struggles on Earth will be more easily resolved at -65° and with the help of high doses of cosmic radiation. Combining live performance and VR experience, The Last Minutes Before Mars invites us into the world of a group of young people to meet their family, their friends and spend time in the precious spaces of their lives. This sets the scene for your encounter with the other strangers in the room, in a collective experience exploring the fact that, no matter what happens to us, we live our different lives all on the same journey, toward the same destination; now, hundreds of thousands of years ago, and beyond, in a future too terrifying and lovely to imagine.
Darren O’Donnell is a novelist, essayist, playwright, filmmaker, performance director and the artistic and founding director of Mammalian Diving Reflex. He brings a rigorous approach to his art-making, his mission being to weave a social fabric that deeply embeds culture and cultural institutions, raising their social responsiveness. In 2000 he won the Pauline McGibbon Award for directing and he has been nominated for a number of Toronto’s Dora Awards for his writing, directing, and acting, winning, with Naomi Campbell, for their design of White Mice. His work with Mammalian company made the 2016 Yerba Beuna Culture Centre’s 100 list. He has been twice nominated for Germany’s BKM-Preis Kulturelle Bildung and for NYC’s inaugural Ellen Stewart Award.
Led by Darren O'Donnell, Mammalian Diving Reflex is a company founded in Toronto in 1993. After moving away from script-based work and towards socially-engaged practices focused on performativity, in 2006 their project Haircuts by Children premiered, cementing Mammalian’s new artistic scope, aesthetic, and methodology. The company creates performances by looking for contradictions to whip into aesthetically scintillating experiences, always trying to overwhelm themselves and their audience with ideas and sensations, allowing intuition to lead the way.