“The string is the thing.” That much was made all too clear. Apart from that one repeated catchphrase, however, Magnolia Productions’ performance of String left a bit too much to interpretation. It’s a show that openly has no rules, so I wasn’t sure quite what to expect – but I can’t help but thinking that I still know as little about the eponymous string as I did when I started watching.
Stepping into the theatre, a large sculpture occupies centre stage, and a woman sits in the corner typing on her laptop. This sculpture is made up of pictures, quotes and messages, clipped onto a tangle of string. It was an intriguing opening, but a while later the plot didn’t show any signs of advancing, and I was getting sick of the words “the string is the thing.”
I struggled to hear the actors at certain points – which let the show down, especially when important ideas were being explained. Two members of the cast acted as spectators, speaking to the audience about the messages behind the show; some of these only confused me even more. There is a whole conversation about whether the sculpture is a metaphor for the internet, and I still don’t know the answer. The involvement of the audience during these points gained a few smiles, but otherwise the timing of many lines seemed awkward.
I do enjoy shows which force me to think out of the box, but here the scenes felt detached and random, and the flow of the whole piece needs some improvement. The repetition began to eat away my interest; across the 50 minutes, nothing really happened. The biggest disappointment came when I realised it had ended without any resolution or explanation about this mysterious string.
For such an interesting concept, the show lacked content and, quite frankly, an interesting plot. Saying that, it did get better towards the end, and I liked the ways the actors found themselves both mentally and physically attached to the string. The idea has potential, but right now the ambiguity behind String left me lost and hoping for more.