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Think Twice

Two one acts offer skewed world views

Joshua Snowden contemplates evolution.

By Hannah Bruchman | Posted 6/17/2010

Think Twice

"Lecture, With Cello" by Robert Mouthrop, "Sapiens!" by Rich Espey

Through June 27 at Audrey Herman Spotlighters Theatre

With a title like Think Twice, there’s bound to be some plot twists—and Spotlighters Theatre certainly delivers with two one-man, one act plays: "Lecture, with Cello", by Robert Moulthrop, and "Sapiens!", by Rich Espey.

"Lecture" opens with a self-proclaimed master cellist (Rodney Bonds) frantically scurrying to a podium on stage to give a lecture on his beloved instrument. He carries a cello case and a hodge-podge of items—cat gut, anyone?—designed to help the audience understand the mechanics of the instrument better. What follows is a semblance of a speech, disconnected and agitated with hidden, dark double meanings only revealed at the end.

Bonds is on his own onstage, and does an admirable job of throwing himself into his role and bringing life to an otherwise monotonous set-up—hour-long lectures can be brutally tedious. Bonds is self-directed in this play and he moves around the stage with ease, delivering his very long monologue smoothly.

The script is a little tiring at times—there were a few drowsy eyes in the seven-member audience at a recent showing—and it isn’t until the end that the cellist’s seemingly disjointed rant ties together in a neat conclusion. Bonds keeps the script afloat, though, and plays his role with heart and charisma.

Up next is "Sapiens!", another one-act play chosen by Bonds to compliment "Lecture, with Cello." Evolution has always been a controversial topic in education, and biology teacher Adam (Joshua Snowden) must present the topic to his class while the school principal observes him. Struggling to teach science to a religious-minded student, Adam (natch) enlists the help of his wife, Karen, and old college roommate, Dave.

Did we mention Snowden plays all these roles himself, plus about 15 more? The play is set up into one giant monologue, but Snowden speaks to the audience like an old friend recounting his stressful day at work.

In an odd move, an optical illusion—the drawing that if you look at it one way is an old maid, another a young girl—is an actual character in this play, named Angela. Her story line runs alongside of Adam’s, but is very unrealistic—no spoilers here, but Espy, the playwright, has a warped view of genetics. Angela’s storyline is laughable. It simply would not happen and detracts from the serious message of the rest of the play.

Snowden does a remarkable job playing his characters, switching between them by changing his voice and body language. He portrayed Adam, the sensitive, dynamic school teacher, with grace—and ha has the looks to be any schoolgirl’s crush. He did stumble a bit on his lines at the beginning but the mistake only added to Snowden’s endearing portrayal of the slightly awkward teacher.

Like "Lecture, With Cello," the full truth of "Sapiens!" is only revealed to the audience at the end, though it is not as much of a shocker as the first play. True to its word, this Spotlighters Theatre show makes the audience think twice about the world around them.

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