Static Assembly attempt to give us an insight into the lives and rivalry of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla but really just leaves the audience confused. While they claim they are presenting an ‘experimental’ and ‘divine’ insight to this true story, the term ‘unique’ to mean an attempt to be bizarre in every sense.
A talented cast are let down by a ludicrous and perplexing show
One of the only redeeming qualities of Edison is the talented cast, made up of an ensemble of twelve performers, whose skills are very apparent although perhaps not effectively applied with this show. Throughout, the production is supplemented by the ensembles voices and percussion, adding pace to the piece. Their voices are individually strong but with beautifully blended harmonies. The other redeeming quality is Hannah Sandler’s choreography of the very physical piece. There were some gorgeous dance sequences but unfortunately this didn’t add any sense to the piece.
Joshua Logan Walker’s script is incredibly difficult to follow with vague narratives that make it hard to even know who the characters are, never mind what is supposed to be happening. The show dances between storylines and, honestly, I’m not sure if I even understood whether the timeline was linear or if it was a flashback. In this version of history, Edison is made out to be a dystopian society dictator, censoring those who speak out against him. There is mention of him ‘always watching’, presumably characterised by the bizarre pigeon-headed woman who is later revealed to be his wife. Yeah, I don’t know either. The actual character of Edison, however, is rarely seen other than in a baffling clown-ish slapstick scene where he rolls around on the ground with a mound of gold streamers. At other points in the show there are scenes like this that seem completely out of context and separate what small moments of storytelling there is.
Overall, I don’t feel like anything can be learned about two of science’s great inventors from this production. Unfortunately, a talented cast are let down by a ludicrous and perplexing show. When leaving the venue I even overheard a ‘what on earth was supposed to be happening?’ I wish I knew.