Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Theatre Ad Infinitum's George Mann on Light
‘There seems to be this weird complacency about surveillance, a lack of urgency or alarm'
This article is from 2014.
Though equally brilliant, Theatre Ad Infinitum’s last two Fringe shows couldn’t have been more different: 2011’s Translunar Paradise was an exquisite, romantic piece of mime, while last year’s Ballad of the Burning Star was a bold, brash cabaret act about life in Israel. ‘That’s one of our aims,’ explains co-artistic director George Mann, ‘to make sure we do something different each time.’
Commissioned by the London International Mime Festival, their new show Light will also be distinct. Ten years ago, Mann had a terrifying nightmare ‘set in the future in a surveillance, totalitarian state,’ and has been trying to create a piece of theatre about it – unsuccessfully – ever since. But the surveillance revelations exposed last year by Edward Snowden have given the idea a new lease of life.
‘There seems to be this weird complacency [about surveillance],’ says Mann, ‘a lack of urgency or alarm. And I’m talking about myself here too: I’m still using Facebook and Skype even though I know people have the ability to get in on my conversations.’
Mann and his co-artistic directors Nir Paldi and Amy Nostbakken are Lecoq-trained, and Light will be a non-verbal show set completely in the dark, lit with LED torchlights and with live sound effects by Mann to create a dystopian, futuristic atmosphere.
‘I think dystopian futures are so powerful,’ he says. ‘Take Nineteen Eighty-Four or Fahrenheit 451: they are set in the future but they make us think about our present. And that’s what I wanted to create. I really hope it’ll generate discussion and I hope it’ll make people think.’
Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, 2–25 Aug (not 11, 18), 5.15pm, £10–£13 (£8.50–£12). Previews 30 Jul–1 Aug, £7.50.