Mere Oblivion Image

Mere Oblivion

By Alan Ng | August 1, 2022

After watching writer/director Michael Justin Lee’s dramatic short, Mere Oblivion, I couldn’t help but wonder if art is a religion unto itself. From art, can one be reborn, find redemption, or attain salvation? Or is it that just emotion speaking?

Marlain Angelides stars as the brilliant yet eccentric dramatist Wendy Marlow Miller. Her passion for the “Bard” has landed her on probation in her small town for breaking into a church that doubles as the town’s community theater. But, feeling a bit of compassion for Wendy, Officer Adams (Brooke Bangston) occasionally drops in to help keep her out of trouble.

When an opportunity presents itself, Wendy finds her calling through a directionless high school dropout, Leah (Jillian Geurts). She then recruits troubled teen Bobbi (Rebekah Madebach) and a shy and nerdy soon-to-be college student, Davey (Justin Michael Lee). Her three “students” are all lost in life, and Wendy gives each teen a new perspective in life by teaching them to act and forming a Shakespearean acting troupe.

“Her passion for the ‘Bard’ has landed her on probation in her small town…”

Mere Oblivion reminds me of the numerous faith films I saw as a youth. Only here, Shakespeare is the religion, and Wendy is the evangelist bringing the good news to the world. Through her love of acting, she instills new life in her disciples and, in the end, finds her salvation and calling.

Like a faith film, the overall tone is hopeful and optimistic. The drama leans hard into the transformative power that comes with delving into the deep ancient texts of William Shakespeare. The theater is Wendy’s church, and tonight’s sermon to the town is Hamlet.

With what little opportunities I’ve had performing (more reciting) Shakespeare, I know full well it’s intimidating to do in public. As Wendy, Marlain Angelides gives a fantastic performance, not only as her character but of Shakespeare’s text as well. The overall light tone contrasts with the serious and brooding Kenneth Brangnah fare audiences might be used to. Michael Justin Lee makes Shakespeare accessible to us average folks and, quite frankly, enjoyable.

I don’t mean to paint Mere Oblivion like a religious cult. What does come across is the love and passion Lee and his cast and crew have for the theater and the artist William Shakespeare.

For screening information, visit the Mere Oblivion official website

Mere Oblivion (2022)

Directed and Written: Michael Justin Lee

Starring: Marlain Angelides, Jillian Geurts, Rebekah Madebach, Brooke Bangston, Justin Michael Lee, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Mere Oblivion Image

"…make Shakespeare accessible to us average folks..."

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