A review of the Road Theatre Company’s “M-Theory: A Play Told in 11 Dimensions,” written by Jami Brandi, directed by Ann Hearn Tobolowsky, and produced as part of the 12th annual Summer Playwrights Festival (SPF12).
“M-Theory: A Play Told in 11 Dimensions” on the surface is a play about many things. Aurora Borealis, the possible end of days, 11 dimensions, black holes, white holes, sun flare storms, X-ray flares, loneliness, self isolation and unimaginable loss.
But it’s really just about one thing. One terrible, terrible thing.
How do you tell a story such as this, in a way that has never been done before? Without being trite or unnecessarily layered or camouflaging what is really the centre of the piece just for the sake of obfuscation? How do you do it with style, heart, profundity, humour and pathos, and insane inventiveness. Well, I suppose you write “M-Theory: A Play Told in 11 Dimensions.”
You can watch all plays on the Road Theatre’s YouTube channel>>
Jami Brandi, a writer who has worked with The Road Theatre Company several times already, has created a play set loosely in the realm of science but deeply and fervently inside a mothers’ love. I’m a mother. And, I can tell you that can be a confusing emotional state. Most of the time. However, there’s one thing that negates all that confusion and emotional acrobatics and that is losing one’s child. I mean having them utterly gone. It happened to me once, thankfully for only a few hours, my son appearing eventually from a neighbor’s house, bewildered by the dozens of police cars scattered about the street where we lived. But, I can tell you it was the most terrifying few hours of my life. So I’ve been there. Where you feel helpless and desperate and broken. The mother in this play, Pauline, feels all those things and Meeghan Holaway who plays her is heartbreaking in her portrayal. One moment laughing at a memory, the next bitter and angry, the next driven and hopeful. A psychosis of loss.
Her daughter Ava, played with incandescence by Jacqueline Misaye, is present, although gone. You really have to watch the performances to understand that. But I ached for them both. All this is set amongst the impending solar flare storm, with an outcome unknowable and the play unfolding around 11 dimensions of reality, marked clearly and ominously, like time passing. In amongst this is an arrival of a stranger, Flyer, played absolutely beautifully by Kita Grayson. A young girl whose plane was ‘sucked’ out of the sky during the first solar storm. She pounds on Pauline’s cabin door, concussed and recovers slowly, while bringing her own sense of destiny to Pauline’s small world.
It’s a gorgeous play. Populated by wonderful deeply felt characters in a moment of excruciating untethering. The edge of chaos, where change must happen. What beautiful writing, each word chosen carefully, knowingly. The performances are beyond wonderful and the story sadly sublime.
Another exquisite selection from The Road. How wonderfully clever they are, how uniquely bound to truth and enlightenment and hard subjects artfully and sincerely told. “M-Theory: A Play Told in 11 Dimensions” is a triumph. Bravo!
You can see more of the Summer Playwrights Festival with a wide range of new plays here:
Meeghan Holaway as Pauline
Jacqueline Misaye as Ava
Kita Grayson as Flyer
Stephen Tobolowsky as stage directions and voice of John