Review: Annie Baker’s ‘Infinite Life’ Finds the Point in Pain – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

Review: Annie Baker’s ‘Infinite Life’ Finds the Point in Pain

Ahron R. Foster

Enthralling, strange, mordant, witty, jolting, mysterious: elements of Annie Baker’s new play, Infinite Life (Atlantic Theater, to Oct 8) echo some of her past masterpieces, like the Pulitzer and Obie-winning The Flick, John, and The Antipodes. A semblance of a real world, and very real people, stand in front of us, yet this also feels a world away from our own—and they too are like us while also more exposed, yet unknowable.

Like these other plays, Infinite Life—a co-production with London’s National Theatre—feels less a conventional dramatic piece than an experience or immersion, a guided walk to a new kind of dramatic territory where the most important skill to exercise is listening. The New York Times recently asked Baker about the key deployment of pauses in her work—on variously long, short, amiable, and disquieting display in Infinite Life. “It was never a conscious decision or aesthetic cultivation on my part,” she said of the “air and spaces” in her work. “It’s just me trying to follow my own pleasure and my own taste and my own ear.”

Infinite Life is set in May 2019 at a clinic two hours north of San Francisco. The lo-fi design by dots shows a collection of drab recliner chairs, and a suggestion of an equally drab patio. The six people we meet, who sit for stretches of time on the chairs, are sick—all in different ways, some for reasons known, some for reasons not immediately clear. They are here to fast in the belief it will help them alleviate some of their physical pain. One very mischievous feature of the setting: they are fasting across the street from a bakery, whose bready smells are a daily cosmic joke.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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