Ignition 2019 Theatre Review
By Conor O’Neill
The Crescent Arts main theatre hold just over 200 people, and it was near full. Being a huge fan of Tinderbox Theatre Company, I knew to expect the unexpected. But I truly didn’t expect what I watched last night.
No set, just 12 actors, eight of which were female, plus four males. At first, I thought this was an all female cast such was the androgyny of the costume. To compound the androgyny of the play is that not one single actor takes or play a lead role. There’s no hero, no show of machoism, no femininity. The program blurb states: Play Machine Meets Britney 2019’.
I’m pretty much unaware of Britney Spears. Of course, I have heard some songs such as the ubiquitous ‘Oops, I Did It Again’ and later ‘Toxic’. Snippets of Spears’ songs, spoken by the actors run the entirety of the 30 minute show, with a Orwellian Big Brother type voice pitching in through a distorted sound effect apparently giving directions.
The aim of Ignition is spontaneity and with only four days to create, rehearse and play over two night it’s quite a pressure indeed. There are laughs in there, but looking through my notes I can’t quite remember why, or what I laughed at. Tension is here in abundance, compelling, claustrophobic, unnerving to the point of panic inducing. The choreography is fantastic, a swarm mentality set in stone. All be it a stockinged and ton of flesh swarm.
Every Tinderbox production I’ve seen to date has stayed with me for a long time and has often had me asking questions during, on the way home, when writing and some, for many months after.
This is no different, but I think a second viewing may be needed to get the entire picture. And maybe that’s the intent? With our technology driven lives and the fear/threat of our details spawning this way and that way uncontrollably, so too does this 30 minutes of theatre.
But there’s no sense of a plot. No one character one can feel or empathise with. I didn’t come for a final happy ending; that’s not what Tinderbox does. But and ending, however shocking would’ve gave balance. And maybe that’s the plan. Further reading of the program describes Gaslighting: To manipulate (someone) by psychologically means into doubting their own sanity.
Ignition 2019 runs at the Crescent Arts Centre until May 25, 2019. To get you tickets visit http://email@example.com of phone The Crescent Arts Centre box office on 02890242338