Roller Skating With My Cousin

When a play begins with a rap on the Singularity and the Big Bang, the possibilities are endless. That this discussion in the LIDA Project's newest collaborative effort uses current theoretical physics as a springboard to alternate universes is a tantalizing premise.

Ed Cord as the Son of Perdition (also known as Ronald Wilson Reagan)
Ed Cord as the Son of Perdition
(a.k.a. Ronald Wilson Reagan)
Photo: Erin Preston
The most beautiful aspect of experimental theatre is what it demands of your mind. If you can park your preconceptions at the door, all sorts of fun things can happen. As the opening rap concludes, we're asked to consider a universe of our own creation. Because of the sound texture and the acoustics, this point may not have had the emphasis it deserved, but it is a key to absorbing the space-time relativity we are about to experience in this unique theatrical vision.

According to the narration, it's important to start small, in this case a black hole of miniscule proportions. In the light of a disco ball, objects begin to shift before us. Soon the tidal movements of four women access four shapes (Platonic "ideal forms"?) from the ceiling. A new creature is formed.

We hear an Orwellian chant on U.S. foreign policy. The polemicist is shot and we are asked what kind of universe we would create.

Matthew Schultz as the Creator
Matthew Schultz as the Creator
Photo: Eric Meyer
A stylistically clever take on the Book of Genesis ensues. The Creator, wearing a gas mask, is mixing fundamental particles over a kitchen sink, all to a primal chant. The building blocks of matter and other, more complex, structures are represented by a large assortment of plain cardboard boxes that are continually pieced together and knocked over. We revisit the disintegration of spiritual unity represented by the Tower of Babel metaphor.

Babylon, the city and the harlot of Revelations as well as false religion (the worship of mammon), make their appearance. Titans (G-d and mammon?) clash. Blackout.

Rock music fills the air and we're at a cosmic roller-skating rink. A particle from the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, discourses on the device's first proton collisions that will lead to experiments attempting to replicate the Big Bang, while the roller skaters compete at Limbo.

Ronald "call me Dutch" Reagan, John Hinkley, and Jodie Foster make their appearances as well. Clearly, this is an experiment (not the play, but what it depicts) gone bad. What are we to do, we are asked? According to Chaos Theory, free will and determinism are inextricable, so we better get crackin'.

The Lida Project's production of Roller Skating With My Cousin runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM through February 20th. 720.221.3821 or online.

Bob Bows


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