The 17th edition of the Youth Infringement Festival features six original one-act plays from writers, directors and actors under the age of 26. On Thursday, the line-up included dramas Plastic Castle and Madness 4.48.
Should you see them?
Kyle Cunningham’s drama involves three estranged siblings trapped in their former family home by a massive storm. After the electricity goes out, they must abandon the devices they use to keep each other at arm’s length and talk, for once.
Plastic Castle starts off well, with the siblings teasing each other and bantering in a way that feels natural. The script takes a sharp turn almost at the same time as the lights go out – suddenly, everyone is yelling at each other for next to no reason. It feels like the audience is given too much and too little exposition at the same time. I found myself with a lot of questions throughout; how old are these people? How long ago did their parents pass away? What is their age difference?
It’s appropriate that flashlights are used almost exclusively to light the scene. However, not being able to see the actors’ faces made it more difficult to connect. It’s a concept that could work better if there was an extra flashlight or perhaps some candles, as well as more deliberate action from the actors wielding them.
Catherine Corriveau as April, the more bubbly and family-driven sibling, does a particularly good job in differentiating herself from the others. Plastic Castle does have an interesting premise – how we communicate with each other on social media is different than how we relate in person – but the script needs to work on making us care about April, Oscar and Ashley as a family.
It’s not often that I’m completely perplexed by show. Something about Madness 4.48 went completely over my head. I did understand that it dealt with the fragments of a broken relationship and the toll it takes on the lovers, along with the impact of mental illness on that relationship. I just wasn’t really sure what else was going on in Hailey Masterson’s script.
Mara McCallum does a good job with the staging, keeping things moving and fluid. The actors are fully committed to the material. An intense performance from Maryse Fernandez is the highlight, keeping the audience enthralled even though I wasn’t quite following the story. Cullen Peterson keeps up as a solid scene partner for all of Maryse Fernandez’s manic energy. Even though it wasn’t really my cup of tea, Madness 4.48 was an interesting performance piece that is definitely unique at this year’s Youth Infringement Festival.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d like to hear what you think. What was your favorite Youth Infringement show? Let me know in the comments below!
Youth Infringement runs until May 16th at the Arts Court Theatre. We’ll be posting additional coverage and reviews of the festival over the next few days, so keep checking back for more. You can catch the final performances of Plastic Castle and Madness 4.48 on May 16th.