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On Tuesday, Week 3 I saw Theatre 42’s – NOTHING IS COMING, THE PIXELS ARE HUGE at the Nuffield Theatre. This show welcomes the audience to marvel in a dystopian, outlandish graveyard of forgotten memories and fragments from society’s lives. Five actors, formally Lancaster University students only graduating last year, take to the stage. Searching for their identity and forgotten past, using building blocks that become pixels when lit on stage. Theatre 42 takes the audience on a captivating, contemporary journey as they try to figure out who they are or even who they used to be.
As I entered the theatre the set created an immediate eeriness, with the actors on stage and in character from the very start. Only two projectors and two hundred and fifty cardboard boxes constructed the show. The boxes created a mysterious wall that dominated the minimalistic set at the back of the stage. The boxes throughout the performance are changed and shaped in different positions to create different scenes; from a city skyline to a living room. The set and storyline often left the audience feeling bewildered, dumbfounded, confused – but always thinking about what it all really means, which drew me into the performance and worked to their advantage. The masterful use of projection, sound effects and lighting is what beautifully complemented the strong performance from each member of the cast. Which made this a wonderful, aesthetically pleasing, enjoyable viewing for the audience.
The actual topic of the play remains a mystery to me, as it jumps from descriptions of a quaint past world, to a living room, to aspects of the human experience. There was clearly some backstory of an Artificial Intelligence taking over – but aside from that, I felt it was unnecessarily complicated for only a sixty-minute piece and I wonder how others interpreted it. The format of the scripting was repetitive – and while this was an advantage to the play’s story, at times it became quite monotonous – there are only so many tonal variations an actor can make on the same words.
Nonetheless, NOTHING IS COMING was a fantastic piece – the scripting invoked a huge amount of curiosity and was captivating; the set was mysterious and made ingenious use of technology; but above all commendation must be given to the stand-out performances from each actor, who really brought the piece to life, and interacted with the set in an incredibly impressive way.