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reviewed by Vickie Cornelius Phipps

I had the privilege of seeing the U.S. premiere production of INFINITY on opening night for Storefront Theatre of Indianapolis, performed at Indy Fringe Theatre/Indy Eleven. INFINITY is the first production of their inaugural season – written by Canadian playwright, Hannah Moscovitch, with original music by Njo Kong Kie, and directed by Storefront founder and Artistic Director, Ronan Marra.

How does a new Theory of Time change everything we know about ourselves?  In this case, it’s the relationship between three brilliant minds. Carmen (Melanie Keller) is a musician, violinist and composer, Elliot (Ryan Ruckman) is a theoretical physicist, and as the result of the laws of chemistry, they fall in love, resulting in an unplanned pregnancy and a neglected marriage. Sarah Jean (Andrea Heiden), a mathematic scholar and the couple’s daughter, addresses the audience about her string of unsatisfying sexual experiences. Thought provoking and emotionally moving, for me the play is about the messiness of life choices and the pursuit of obtaining love and acceptance through passion and perfection. It is the mixture of philosophy, physics, and music. It is a revelation about love, sex, and math.

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Melanie Keller (Carmen) and Ryan Ruckman (Elliot) in a scene from Storefront Theatre’s “INFINITY”.

Visually, set designer Ivana Vukomanovic gives us straight lines for a simple set resembling strings of instruments flowing down from the ceiling like rays of light. From the perspective of the audience, these stringed paths appear to intersect with each other suggesting conflict that the characters themselves may not perceive, but they keep moving forward. Live violinist (Allison Kelley) plays masterfully during scene changes and delivers the characters’ emotions to our senses in an extremely effective way. Well executed – the actors, the direction, and a great script communicate brilliantly what we all struggle with: What is real? Are we attracted to the people who help us confront unresolved issues? Does this mean there’s a fine line between love and hate? This play stimulates nothing if not self-reflection.

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Allison Kepley (Violinist) and Andrea Heiden (Sarah Jean) in a scene from Storefront Theatre’s “INFINITY”.

I especially enjoyed Andrea Heiden in her portrayal of Sarah Jean evolving from the frustrated 8-year-old, having to grow up too fast into the sexually obsessed adult who cannot possibly believe the love she receives is real. A special nod to Ryan Ruckman, who explains scientific theories which roll off his tongue as if he really understood them. And Melanie Keller, who made me scream inside “Yes you can do it alone, girl!”

I think Storefront has found a niche within the Indianapolis theatre community. The production of fine new works by female, minority, and foreign playwrights – in an intimate setting  – is just what this city needs.

INFINITY continues through Oct 15th. For more information, go to the Storefront web site – http://www.storefrontindy.com .

  • – Photos by Tom McGrath

 

 

 

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