Infinity - The Extraspace at Tarragon Theatre in a co-production with Volcano Theatre - Toronto, ON - *** (out of 5 stars)
Written by Hannah Moscovitch, Directed by Ross Manson
Runs until May 3rd, 2015
As Jonathan Larson put it, how do you measure a year in the life? How about love?
Hannah Moscovitch's newest play looks at what time is, but in a more scientific way. When a physicist Elliot (an awkwardly loveable Paul Braunstein) working on his PhD on string theory and time and the theory of everything, falls in love with musician and composer Carmen (Amy Rutherford), we see their relationship jump from first meet to pregnancy scare to marriage and beyond. From a first-meet practical view on love and sex, to expectations of giving up ones time as a signal of love, we see the minefield of bumpy moments in Carmen and Elliot's relationship. Intertwined between the various phases of Carmen and Elliot's relationship are the ramblings of a 20s something girl Sarah-Jean (Haley McGee, now officially in everything) who may be incredibly smart, but is also terrible at love. The two story lines eventually collide as we figure out the emotional impact from the causes to the effects we've seen in the other storyline.
It's a lot of mind exploding ideas but the characters manage to make most of it intelligible and understandable despite the complicated theories of what time actually is and if it even exists.
With a haunting score by Njo Kong Kie* played by violinist Andréa Tyniec on a beautifully simple set by Teresa Przybylski with a sweeping screen that goes offstage and looks like it continues on to infinity, Infinity the play is a lovely production of a play with big ideas about space and time, memories and the present, and how we prepare for the future as time and love intertwine in separate theories, (or at least according to Elliot). While the overall plot is fascinating and teeming with ideas, the individual scenes occur with mixed success, and I found Elliot and Sarah-Jean's moments tended to work better, but there was often an abundance of yelling or exasperation when Carmen interacted with Elliot, and while I understood it seemed required for the overall dramatic arc, it often felt more like plot machinations or a stereotypical response distilled into a dramatic outburst.
Then there's also a beautifully choreographed moment in the show when things begin unravelling but the moment seems at odds with the rest of the show (that or I completely missed the ingenuity or point). Nonetheless, there's an interesting balance of scientific talk and an emotional core with the characters which both get their due platform in the play.
* In full disclosure, Kie is an acquaintance I have done business with
Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com
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