Playwrights Theater Stage A NEW THEORY OF VISION 3/18- 4/11
Sanctuary: Playwrights Theater (www.sanctuarytheatre.org) will stage Bob Jude Ferrante's "A New Theory of Vision" at the Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street (between Bowery & Second Avenue). The play will run from March 18th through April 11th, Wednesday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Cat Parker directs; the play stars Eric Percival as Lee, Maeve Yore as Cara, Matt Steiner as Erich, Julian Elfer as Ted, and Brooke Eddey as Jane, with Sonya Tsuchigane and Lawrence Cantor. Tickets are $18, $12 students/seniors, available from SmartTix at www.smarttix.com or call (212) 868-4444.
"A New Theory of Vision" is the story of philosophy professor Lee Krebs, specialist in George Berkeley. Ferrante chose Berkeley because the philosopher wanted people to understand they only know reality through their senses. The play expands upon this by moving the action to cyberspace, where one can't rely completely on taste, touch, sight, and hearing, and must find a new way to define reality.
A brilliant young student, Erich Danton, who has Asperger's (a neurobiological disorder which impairs social interaction), proposes a simulation project to bring the philosopher back to life. Unfortunately, ghosts from Lee's past also intrude. "A New Theory of Vision" asks the questions, "What is reality?" "Do I live in the same reality as others?" This surreal and poetic comedy moves us between the real world, the "virtual" online world, and the world inside the human mind.
The other characters are Ted, Lee's friend, who insists Lee write another mainstream popular philosophy book so that he can maintain his chair at UC Berkeley. Ted's wife, Cara, is a psychologist, whose patient is Erich, and insists on being a part of Erich's experiment. Others are interwoven, including Jane, a friend of Lee, whose current existence may be only in Lee's mind, and Hariko, a beautiful Japanese woman, who seems to live only in online reality. The rapid-paced dialogue between the characters swiftly moves the various threads along so the audience, like Lee, can freely mix between the "real," the "virtual," and the "imaginary."
This may be the first play to cast the computer as a character that dictates the movements of the cast. The production, designed by George Allison, uses a "virtual" set, which projects the three worlds the characters inhabit and forms a bridge between them. "I wanted to write a comedy in which we question the unities of our own realities as well as questioning what it means to be truly human. The play reflects a belief that like Erich, all our brains are wired differently. That as minds, we are all snowflakes," said Ferrante.
Bob Jude Ferrante, managing director of Sanctuary: Playwrights Theatre, is a playwright, producer, and composer. His play "Twinges" played in New York to critical acclaim from BackStage and was a finalist for Actor's Theater of Louisville's Heideman Award. He is the author of ten full-length plays and thirteen one-act plays, and has written more than 200 songs.
Sanctuary: Playwrights Theatre, created by dramatists to showcase the work of bold new playwrights in Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway theaters, recently produced Six Nights: Written on the City, a series of site-specific works by Sheila Callaghan, Kia Corthron, Lisa D'Amour, Jason Grote, Sung Rno & Caridad Svich, as covered in feature articles in The Brooklyn Rail, gothamist and Scene4 magazine. About the world premiere of Food for Fish by Adam Szymkowicz the NY Times' Anita Gates said, "a fabulously weird and weirdly fabulous new comedy"; NYTheatre.com's Michael Criscuolo said, "A smart, well-done play... Catch it before it's gone."