Familie Flöz are a German company who make mask shows – usually involving improvisation and physical humour, and without a spoken text.
Infinita is, in this mould, a 90-minute long masked mime. It’s a cradle-to-grave narrative – beginning with a group of three young toddlers, and ending in a retirement home. The action typically centres on the act of playing games: from attacking audience members with a giant bouncy ball, to threatening to empty the contents of a bedpan over them.
Thematically, Infinita is more concerned with life than death – though it starts and ends with a funeral procession. It’s about a defiant vitality, as the old men in their retirement home continue in the spirit of playfulness that defined their youth. It reminded me of the story George Orwell tells in his essay A Hanging, in which he describes a prisoner on their way to the gallows stepping around a puddle – the life instinct staying with him right up to the end.
This production is full of carefully observed and engaging mask work – depicting the physical characteristics of toddlers and infants in a way that is strikingly felicitous and often hilarious. It’s also a surprisingly touching piece. At times it made me think of Horse and Bamboo’s work – capturing that strange ability that masks have to induce empathy.