Infinity – Smock Alley – First Fortnight Festival – Review by Frank L.
Part of the First Fortnight Festival
The stage is sparse with Matthews moving barefoot, attired in black. In the centre is a microphone on top of a stand. Attached to the base of the stand is a string with a thick piece of chalk at its end. Using the chalk and string, Matthews draws a circle on the stage floor. There also rests on the stage, a large object which appears spherical but with multiple small flat surfaces so that it is not technically a sphere. There is also a one-piece suit laid out on the floor and a collection of other objects at the back of the stage. All of these items will be used by Matthews as she takes you on a journey to the edge of the universe. This is a science fiction story and Matthews readily admits she is fascinated by science fiction.
Matthews also weaves into this journey a mental personal element. She explains how she deals with the every day pressures which the human condition imposes and the empty spaces that lurk in her mind. These spaces are infinite. The importance of the meaning of the word “infinity” which Matthews asks the audience to define at the beginning is central to both journeys. It is with these elusive concepts which are ever present but are difficult to grasp that Matthews seeks to grapple.
The intensity of the performance is enhanced by the imaginative lighting used throughout but in particular when Matthews dons the space suit which lurked at the back of the stage. Bill Woodland the lighting designer, Shane Gill his assistant and Naomi Faughnan the costume designer are entitled to take a bow for this surprising suit.
Given the difficulty in defining what is “infinity” there is an existential problem of bringing the necessarily finite performance to a conclusion. But that said the ambiguous end could be considered the piece’s strength because by definition infinity defies an end or a conclusion.
Matthews with director Eoghan Carrick has created a thought-provoking piece of theatre which delves in an imaginative way into the subconscious. It combines intelligently the science fiction element with the subconscious part of the mind to make a fine piece of theatre.
Eoghan Carrick/ Nessa Matthews
Dublin Fringe Festival 2018 – Developed at FRINGE LAB with the support of Dublin Fringe Festival.
Developed at Scene + Heard 2017
Created in association with Corn Exchange Theatre Company and Mermaid Arts Centre
Running time : 60 mins