The 2013 King’s Infringement Festival opened Monday night with Tour Night, an event where audiences were led through venues in the A&A and Alex Hall. Despite a few timing issues, organizers Haydn Watters and Anne White appear to have overcome the pacing problems that troubled Infringement’s first semester predecessor, Plays in Weird Places.
I Spy is TJ Shiff’s dystopian play where the name of the game is “kill or be killed.” The bright white walls and floor, constructed from bed sheets, created a suspiciously pristine setting that contrasted well with the play’s dark subject matter. The actors gave strong performances all around, carrying out haunting transitions and character development well.
A cardboard box labelled “Time Machine” and a rectangle of masking tape between the A&A’s basement lockers serve as the setting for Ben Harrison’s When You See It, about a couple’s curse-punctuated musings on the nature of memory. The actors handled a demanding script well, delivering several mini-monologues each with apparent ease and strongly conveying their characters’ transition from contentment to apprehension.
Alexandra Cooke’s Hitman: The Musical boasts clever, funny lyrics about the dilemmas of a hitman tasked with killing himself for sleeping with a married woman. Though seeing the Manning Room as a shady hotel bar did require some imagination, staging and performances by the actors and the pianist largely made up for it.
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Emily Watson, director of After Midnight, chose the Wardroom as the literal setting for Rach Klein’s play about a young man beginning his second stab at life after committing suicide. The Wardroom’s dim lighting suited the play well. Subtle line delivery and blocking were at the heart of the young man’s performance, the strongest in the play, and allowed for more convincing conviction.
Hamlet Adapted is a fun rendition of the first lines of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, adapted to the King’s campus by Nick Stark. It’s a show built for a King’s audience, featuring Patrol members referred to by their radio names, and Dean of Residence Nick Hatt standing in for the ghost of Hamlet’s father. Though the jokes are really the focus, the actors must be credited for performing on the front steps of the A&A on a cold February evening and with delighting their shivering audience.
As for Jonny Bolduc’s latest Mancat instalment… let’s just say those who entered that room on Alex Hall’s first floor will never be quite the same.
Infringement continues tonight, Feb. 5, with Dorm Night, featuring plays by Pearl Chan, Siobhan Fleury, Rach Klein and Claire McMaster.
[box type=”info”]Disclosure: Ben Harrison, our co-editor-in-chief, while having no influence over this review, did write and direct When You See It.[/box]