published Saturday, November 19, 2016
Richardson — “If thinking were easy, everyone would do it.”
This tagline from The Book of Moron is why I love comedy and comedians. In the latest theatrical laugh-fest from creator Robert Dubac, the voice of his Common Sense explores the line comedians cross between offensive and funny, between illusion and truth. “Just ask some questions, make us think, and if we think hard enough, we can wake up.”
It’s not just metaphorical in The Book of Moron. Robert Dubac’s character Bob is in a coma after an accident, reduced to a series of acronyms on his plastic hospital wristband that indicate traumatic brain injury, possibly from too much talk radio. Another clue: There is a dog bone in his pocket and a vague recollection of taking his pet, Wilson, to get some treats.
In The Book of Moron’s 80-minute journey through Bob’s consciousness, he turns to a series of interior selves to remember who he is. Led by his Voice of Reason, it’s frequently overruled by his Inner Child, Inner Moron, Inner Asshole, and aforementioned Common Sense, with his Scruples residing in humanity, a.k.a. the audience.
Is this relevant in our post-election turbulence or what?
With Herculean effort, Bob rolls through the levels of truth (The Illusion of Truth, The Naked Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth) and levels of consciousness (Id, Ego, and Superego). Do we press 1 for truth or 2 to remain in the dark?
Bottom line: Truth is always more offensive than comedy.
The first step for Bob is to break free of The Truth that’s created from Pavlovian training all bound up in sex, race, religion, media, and politics. He must leave the comfort of the box where no thinking is necessary and venture into the murky terrain of belief. A lifetime of programming via media consumption must perish to become tabula rasa and find Nothing But The Truth—the self.
Bob often returns to the paradoxical and contradictory nature of humanity, the conundrums of consciousness. “A paradox that’s truth negates itself simultaneously.” In the classic progression of Nietzsche’s superman, we are exhorted to erase what we’ve been told to see what we already know. Never would I have thought to find Taoist teachings laced with existentialism in a comedy show.
Sound heavy? Not in the least. Dubac folds in plentiful jokes from erudite to just plain silly. Not a minute goes by without a laugh, and he even adds well done magic tricks. The Book of Moron is briskly paced with a momentum that builds in a sly way as concepts are layered in, returned to, and flipped over.
But does Bob wake up and get the dog bone to Wilson? That’s up to you to discover, because “You are altogether different.”
The Book of Moron is a visually sharp show, with few but effective props, including Dubac’s trademark twirling chalkboard. Adding to the energy are intricate lighting cues and sound effects (kudos to the Eisemann tech staff for excelling at this). The backdrop is the shape of a brain comprised of white sheep huddled together with vacant gazes, except the lone black sheep who stares straight forward. (Extra points if you find the dog bone embedded among the sheep.)