Review: UNTITLED at Inis Nua Theatre

By: Apr. 29, 2019
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Review: UNTITLED at Inis Nua Theatre
Photo by Plate 3 Photography

In an hour and a half of fable, poetry, and traditional storytelling, Inis Nua's Untitled beautifully presents a tale of culture, privilege and destiny.

Untitled is a play by English-Nigerian playwright Inua Ellams. It follows two brothers who were separated as infants. One, who is nameless, and therefore lacking a destiny, struggles to find his identity in Nigeria. The other, who accepted a name, lives in England and works in an office building. Inis Nua's production is the play's American premiere.

Both brothers are played by Keith Illidge, who, as the only actor in the play, artfully captures the focus of the audience. Illidge draws each individual out of the intimate theater and into his characters' story. Though it can be confusing to switch between timelines, he makes it clear and engaging. He brings back the exciting feeling you had when your parents would tell a bedtime story. Illidge is hilarious, likable, and fully committed to the roles he plays.

Both characters' narratives include mini stories within them, and lighting and set designers Daniel Schreckengost and Marie Laster magically transform the stage so it can be so multi-purpose. The floor is made of sand, so the brothers are literally writing their pasts in the sand -- and all of it is washed away when a thunderstorm featuring real rain breaks out on stage. When the brother who grew up in England speaks, he uses a microphone that is reminiscent of a stand-up show.

Every external piece of the play seamlessly supports the text's message. Nigerian custom and traditional story structure become an organic vessel for a story about finding your meaning, no matter your background or situation. Ellams' characters grow and change before your eyes, and you're left with the intimate feeling of knowing someone's life story.

Untitled runs until May 12 and tickets can be purchased HERE.


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