Theater Review: "The Illusion" At A Noise Within
An elegant golden gate attached to nothing; spider-web shadows cast across the stage; blue-green ivy draping across the background, with a color-changing glow emanating from behind it—the word that comes to mind is “magical.” The set, along with the light and sound effects, create a mystical atmosphere, opening the mind to all possibilities, real or fantastical. From the otherwordly blue lighting to the mysterious gate which stands isolated from any wall or boundary, but nevertheless acts as the only hope for entry between one world and another, “The Illusion,” true to its title, does its utmost to enhance the visual illusion of theater. There is little to no set decoration, and props are minimal, though used effectively. The lighting designer Jeremy Pivnick and sound designers Doug Newell and Zipline Sound add much to the production’s magical effect. In one moment, there is a consecutive flash of bright light and then pitch darkness and a character utterly disappears within the blink of an eye. In another instance, a curtain falls dramatically from the sky, accompanied by a shocking clash of cymbals, and once more, a group of characters simply vanish from view. Though not exceedingly complex, these tricks and effects celebrate the possibility of visual illusion and magic.
All in all, A Noise Within’s “The Illusion” is a production that transcends reality in all aspects. The visual illusions blur the line between what is real and what is magic; the characters break the fourth wall of theater, with a few direct addresses to the audience; and the story itself changes as it develops, with contrasting moods and shifts in narration. The very names of the characters change with each episode. More than anything, “The Illusion” is a loving exploration of the power of storytelling, magic and memory. Whether it is “fact or fiction” is unclear, but, more importantly, it does not matter.
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