Infinity is a beautiful exploration of the isolation mental health problems can bring - and how much things can change, if you have the courage to talk before it is too late. Nessa Matthews has been talking recently - about dreams, about fears, and about how her mum sometimes avoids people by pretending she can't see them. And she had a recurring dream: of a lone astronaut hurtling through space, adrift but somehow still tethered to the far-off planet she called home.
She invites us to join her in the dark of the cosmos, where a small spaceship hurtles away from a dying planet, following a faint signal. It’s a last hope in the darkest days for the Earth… but for the lone crew member it is a one-way trip into the unknown. The story that stands alone as an engaging piece even aside from its deeper meanings - meanings which might well be lost on members of the audience with less experience of mental health issues.
This is a very well-thought-out piece, a compelling story that is also layered in metaphor and complemented by an excellent balance of dialogue, recordings and silence. Even once you leave the theatre, it stays with you, yielding more meanings the longer you dwell on it, and conveying feelings and experiences that could not be put into words.
The show begins with a question, "What is infinity?” Immediately the audience is put a little on edge; the house lights have not gone down as we expected and we are being addressed directly. This leads into a very chatty introduction, and - combined with a slow start - I felt this intentionally-jarring opening was just a little too awkward. From then on though, Matthews holds the audience for the entire hour, and the costumes and scenery are well done too: simple but making excellent use of lights to stand out in the dark.
"What is infinity? It is a journey when you don't know the way back, a journey which you don't have the words for." Infinity reminds us that ultimately, no matter how alone we seem, we are always tethered to each other and our homes; our lives intertwined and bound together. It forms a poignant metaphor, of a journey taken alone but so familiar to others, into the unknown.