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Infringement Festival 2016: Opening night review

Even a fire alarm couldn’t damper Infringement’s opening night.
The week-long student-written theatre festival kicked off on Monday night in the Pit. Before the shows began, an alarm sounded, forcing everyone into a furious flurry of flakes. Actors in suits, robes, and other costumes mingled with audience members in the Quad. The alarm stopped and everyone migrated back to the Pit, getting the show off to a belated start.
The first piece of the night was the “24-Hour Play.” A group of students gathered at 7p.m. the day before and brainstormed a new play over a whole day. The actors were apparently given scripts 30 minutes before the show began. Performers read their lines from scripts and phones, often breaking character and bumping into set pieces.
The almost improvisational tone of the play added to the flavour of its performance. It was a fun, loose play that let the audience in on every joke.
The actors committed to their roles, with Meg Shields and Genny Dow standing out with great lines and strange characters. The performers were clearly having fun and it was contagious.
While the play was a bit long, padded with overlong dialogue and flat musical numbers, it was a great, spontaneous theatre piece.
After the break, “New Beat York Poetry Times” took to the stage. Meg Shields and Allie Graham played stereotypical beatniks reading poetry comprised of New York Times crossword clues. It was as funny as it sounds and the actors got great mileage out of the premise, even weaving an unexpected story into the free associational lunacy.
“Fire Dance” was a marked change of tone. A wordless dance piece set to music, it depicted a woman’s struggle with depression (or perhaps any mental issue). She carried literal emotional baggage as she was tormented by dancing women in black. With shades of “4:48 Psychosis,” the play created striking visuals with its well-choreographed dancing. Its brevity and lack of dialogue prevented it from seriously discussing mental issues but its metaphorical approach is sure to spark a reaction.
The final play of the night was “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardroom,” which only featured one of those things. It was a musical set on a typical night in everyone’s favourite student hangout. Actual Wardy staff members belted out a bevy of songs about beer, dancing, MRAs, and FYP Mondays. The singing was quite good and the jokes, while overly familiar, played well to the audience.
Unfortunately, the play felt like an overlong advert for the Wardy, literally singing the praises of the bar. Its constant self-promotion soured the enjoyment, but not enough to derail the performance.

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

One reply on “Infringement Festival 2016: Opening night review”

You didn’t say anything about that pretty radical avant-garde ceramic dance!!!! Did we even see the same Christmas play?

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