The Hill Street venue has a great find in their ‘Master’s Room’ space and Hinge Theatre has installed itself there to present Ordinary Things: a two-actor, four character play about two couples breaking up across time and context. Despite occurring in this unconventional space, Ordinary Things is a fairly traditional piece of theatre, with a confessional script and naturalistic style, solidly performed.
The most exciting thing about the show is the room itself. It is just a room in an older building, but its character is vivid and the production has wisely lit the space using only lamps creating a mysterious and beautiful glow. Many vintage mirrors line the room allowing simultaneous views of the performers’ faces from different angles. This lends a cinematic quality to the piece, tying-in with one of the show’s themes: there is always another perspective to consider. However, there are some technical misses, the most grievous of which is the video projection, periodically displayed on a black cloth plastered across one wall. This set-up is ugly and distracting, and the video content feels more like commercial breaks than plot enhancements, and detract from the hard-working, and more compelling, performers.
Playing two characters each, the show’s young actors are charming and committed. Their scene work is well-paced and they are both able to deliver a sometimes clichéd script (the film-maker character describes walking into her first camera class and “everything came into focus”) with sincerity and confidence. I preferred to watch their focused presence, than listen to sentimental folk mega-hits while watching a mediocre digital video montage.
Given the adventurous leaps theatre has made in the past few decades in site-specificity and audience interaction, what Hinge has done with this piece is fairly tame. (The room is being used as a ‘real’ room, but it’s filled with conspicuous set-dressing and a tech-board operator – it’s a theatre.) Still, there are good points and earnest performances and for a piece of straight theatre it’s worth the trip.