On Ego

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


To Tom Garvey

I just had a magnificent theatrical experience! I saw a short one-act play that couldn't exist without inspired projected effects that interacted with live action, that told an involving story about people involved in a compelling situation of high emotional seriousness.

No, I don't mean "The Andersen Project" --- I saw that Last night, when you were somewhere else in the Cutler Majestic thrilling to it a second time; and, frankly, I was bored at that cute and self-indulgent send-up of the French that looked to me an irrelevent slice-of-quaint-life --- sort of "This American Life" with pictures.

No, I'm talking about an actual PLAY called "On Ego" by Mick Gordon and Paul Broks that the Science Fiction Theatre Company is doing at The Factory Theatre. I think, unlike the expensive spread, it really fulfilled your dictum that "A 'play' in the traditional sense is something that has a premise, a theme, a rising action that develops that theme, compelling characters, a climax or conclusion (or an anti-climax) . . ."
But then, what do I know about Real Plays?

"On Ego" starts with a fascinating little lecture defining the brain as a pound or so of firing neurons, within which there is no "soul" in control; "the brain is a story-telling mechanism, and the story it tells is --- You." So, if one could scan and totally duplicate every single atom in your body, that duplicate would contain your every memory and idea --- it would BE you. If some day (This is The SCIENCE FICTION THEATER Company, remember) all a person's atoms could be scanned and the information sent somewhere and re-constituted, the result at the end would be identical to the person --- so the original could be -- whoosh! -- destroyed, because two "people" can't live the same life, can they?

But what if, by an anomalous malfunction, it wasn't?

Now complicate that premise with another, simpler problem: the hero's wife has a "butterfly tumor" in her own brain that gradually interferes with her life and memory and, since it's unoperable, will kill her.

Eric McGowan and Alissa Cordiero play that pair of genuinely star-crossed lovers, with Chuck Schwager as her father and the operator of the teleportation machinery. Brian McCarthy provides fascinating ever-changing projected abstract backgrounds, and effects involving pictures (or in some cases live-action shots?) of actors, with live actors interacting with them. Dan Grund directed. I think they all did a stunning job of making this English play come to life this side of the Atlantic.

Oh, and one irrelevent note: I'm told the seat I sat in at the Cutler last night would cost anyone else $79.00; the Scioence Fiction Theater Company will charge yiou only $20.00 --- but hurry, because as of tonight half the seats in The Factory are already taken; apparently I can't say the same of the show at the Cutler.

===Anon. (a k a larry stark)

To check on Tom Garvey's differing opinions, Click HERE and scroll down.

"On Ego" (30 March - 15 April)
@ The Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont Street (back door off Northampton Street), BOSTON MA

"The Andersen Project" (24 March - 1 April)
@ Cutler Majestic Theatre, Tremont Street, BOSTON MA