Infinity – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review
Dates Sep 19-22 @ 21:15 – Tickets €14 / €12 conc.
Other performance Sep 22 @ 16:00
Duration 55 mins – Venue: Smock Alley Theatre Black Box
‘What is Infinity’ are the first words that Nessa Matthews says from the stage looking far into the audience. We remain quiet expecting it to be a rhetorical question or at least one that she will answer herself, but she actually waits for a response. Eventually some brave soul says it means endlessness and Nessa seems happy with the response. It is an opening that shares something with the audience and starts a dialogue. She then talks about the role of the audience and the performer. Where the audience are expected to sit mute in the darkness and the performer is the one that tells the tale, the one with all the answers, but that isn’t always true.
This production is a science fiction tale wrapped in a personal story about loneliness and isolation. The science fiction story is easy enough to follow. The earth is dying and an astronaut sets out on a long journey to find the source of a signal. The signal was a series of prime numbers and they hope some intelligent life form has sent it out into the cosmos hoping to find new life. Her space craft is tiny and she lives in complete isolation for the duration of her journey. Early in her trip she can still receive messages from home but as she moves further away it becomes impossible. She is left for years travelling alone through the dark void of space.
This sense of loneliness is contrasted with our daily lives. The moments we pretend not to see someone we know to avoid talking to them, or the times we spend staring at our phones instead of interacting with the people around us. Nessa tells of her fear of putting on this very production and her thoughts to cancel the show as she was gripped by a sense of dread.
The piece is very open about the problems of modern life and how anxiety and inner turmoil can take hold. Nessa talks on the subject with an honestly that is impressive. The story of the journey through space is surprisingly well realised, complete with a tiny space craft and a space suit. It is rare to see the science fiction genre on stage but it works well in this case and serves as an impressive analogy for the solitude and remoteness that we can experience in our daily lives.