Review by Beatrice Williams-Rude
No, you didn’t misread that: It’s not “The Book of Mormon,” but is indeed “The Book of Moron.”
The premise is: “If thinking were easy everyone would do it.”
While technically this is a one-person play, written and brilliantly performed by Robert Dubac, there are six characters, all deftly defined, which are played by the author, who is also his own director.
The plot of play concerns a man who, having been hit on the head and becoming an amnesiac, is struggling to learn who he is, within as well as without, and to find truth. If this sounds “heavy,” rest assured that it’s as seemingly frothy as a meringue—and provides a laugh every few seconds—albeit sometimes with a bitter aftertaste.
While there are many political barbs, the thrust of this work is cultural, and all of what culture implies: hypocrisy vs. ethics; the dim views of education and the educated—a character speaking with a Southern/Appalachian accent notes that he holds a doctorate from Harvard but wouldn’t dare speak with a Boston accent where he now lives.
Much attention is paid to separating truth from illusion, including the delusion by some TV personalities that they are newscasters.
“Bob” is trying to determine what he believes, what he’s been told that he questions, the nature of scruples, and all manner of cultural assumptions. Because he’s adopted the position of being a determined inquirer, he escapes the trap of having to be angry to make his points.
The humor– it’s laugh-out-loud so intense that lines are missed because they’re drowned out by laughter stemming from the previous line–is rich in irony. Concerning religion, and we do indeed claim to be a devoutly religious nation, it would seem we worship at the shrine of Nascar. Far more people attend Nascar events Sunday morning than attend church.
Dubac has great fun skewering popular TV shows, from “Dancing With the Stars” to “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
In dealing with our decline from democracy to idiocracy, language is front and center. Stressing that a vast swathe of our population has the vocabulary of a ninth grader, “dude,” and “omg” that is “amazing, really amazing.”
Some of Dubac’s “solutions” to social problems—overpopulation, for example, are worthy of Jonathan Swift. And what a joy: the audience is given credit for being both intelligent and knowledgeable!
The set is spare but effective, the lighting good, the sound is inventive, clever, and a critical element in the show, all of which are by Robert Richards.
The theater is audience-friendly (rest rooms close to the entrance and on the same level) and the staff accommodating.
“The Book of Moron” is in repertory with Robert Dubac’s “The Male Intellect: an oxymoron?” – Urban Stages Theatre, 259 West 30th Street, NYC (www.urbanstages.org) through April 26.