Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"The Seperate Self" by Robert Arnold

Source: Chatterbox Theater (mp3)
Length: 20 minutes
Reader: Bob Arnold and Lauren Rachel

The play: When Greg is nearly hit by a bus, he claims to have a lifechanging revelation that has revealed an unknown power within himself. His wife is skeptical of his claims, but he is insistant. Greg's experience may be evidence of  supernatural powers or may be just an extraordinary coincidence. How far will he go to find out the truth?

In its short running time, this play packs a number of questions about faith and reason into a suspenseful story.  Without mentioning religion or philosophy, it ponders the implications of belief. Is it better to stay true to a heartfelt faith no matter the consequences or to approach life rationally, even if that means potentially missing out on being part of a grander purpose? "The Separate Self" doesn't offer any clear answers, but presents both sides from different perspectives.

Rating: 8/10

The readers: I'm always concerned when the lead actor is also the writer and director of a play, but Bob Arnold puts those fears to rest with an excellent performance. The sense of worldliness he gives to Greg makes it clear that the character is not a fanatic who will believe anything. Lauren Rachel plays Greg's wife Anne as a sympathetic character; her real acting abilities come through in the climax, which I don't want to give away. The sound effects are kept to a minimum, except in the climax, where the sounds provide this play's equivalent of a ticking time bomb.

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