REVIEW: Invisible Atom (New Performance Festival)

Andy Black in his solo performance Invisible Atom

Indivisible Atom – Invisible Man [by Sharu Delilkan]

Anthony Black in his solo performance Invisible Atom

His name is Atom as in the bomb, not Adam as in Eve, something Anthony Black pointed out right from the start.

He stood on a black platform, which looked a bit like a pedestal and was a great metaphor for a man at his apex.

What does it mean to be someone in the world nowadays? With much explained by science, has too much been explained for us to have a place in the world?

Have Einstein, Asimov, Feynman, Darwin, Wenley, Delilkan and Smith explained everything? Have Oppenheimer, Da Vinci, Dyson, Descartes, Booth and Galileo theorised so deeply into who, what and why we are that there is an infinitesimal feeling of individual contribution?

Do we matter? Do our ethics matter?

Should we just blind ourselves to the very truths revealed by science and life vicariously through money, marriage, material and multiplication?

Is ignorance bliss? How important do we need to feel within our lives to function and survive with purpose? Do we really matter?

Or are we just an Invisible Atom – divisible, unexplainable (inexplicable), a pure point of being? Does science’s explanation mean there is no point in being?

Invisible Atom, through scientific narration, may raise those questions in your mind but not necessarily answer them.

The writing is intelligent, the acting brilliant and the production exceptional.

The question is has science informed us or abandoned us of our humanity? Is there any point?

Invisible Atom is an epic tale played out on an impossibly tiny 1 m square stage with extreme slickness. For once the actor lived up to the billing “consummate solo performance”, never missing a beat.

So I wasn’t surprised to find out that he had performed this solo show in more than 100 presentations across Canada and internationally.

The Canadian-based writer, director, actor, designer, and producer’s slight of hand introducing little props on stage was commendable, making you think you were watching a play with a magical dimension.

Most of the time it didn’t seem like there’s just one person on stage, particularly since both the sound effects and lighting design were almost like two complementary characters in addition to Black’s amazingly precise acting and movement.

Although the show deals with economics and classical physics themes, it is essentially a human story that depicts personal tragedy in an intelligent manner.

I particularly liked the way Black used his fingers to do the walking at the start and end of the show, explaining scientific facts such as atoms splitting into fractions of fractions of fractions and weightlessness before the great invisible fall. This device worked well, helping the audience to realise that the story had come full circle.

If you see nothing else during the New Performance Festival, Invisible Atom is a must see especially since it made everyone think about life, the universe and everything in it.

2b theatre company (Halifax) presents Invisible Atom plays as part of the New Performance Festival until 25 February at Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre. Details see The Edge.

SEE ALSO: Theatreview Review by Vanessa Byrnes .

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