When truth is indistinguishable from fiction, and money and potential fame get involved, how long does it take for supposed intellectual friendship to collapse into grotesque, absurd, petty rivalry and confrontation?
It happens in about three days—say, a couple hours of stage time—in Ghost at the Machine, playing the next two weekends in the Theatre of Western Springs’ Cattell Theatre.
In that time, a married couple and their unmarried guests face a pair of mysteries: a missing $50, and a string of familiar music that has been apparently generated at random from a computer program.
Has a new artificial intelligence been discovered? Is it some trillion-to-one chance happenstance? Or was it faked—and perhaps by the same person who stole that ridiculous $50?
However small the stakes, these characters care, and they care a lot—and the questions about the micro reflect on the macro, the very nature of what constitutes veracity, and what falsehood.
“This play is all about the truth, the appearance of truth, how people will lie to protect themselves or their marriage,” said director Rick Snyder. “I refer to this play as a sexual/intellectual whodunit.”
Snyder has done the play once before, and said that he frequently uses scenes from it for acting classes, which has whetted his appetite to perform the entire show once again.
“At first I thought, like, ‘what is this.’ Then as we got into it, I became fascinated by it,” said Snyder. “It’s the kind of play that is a mind-twister for the audience. I like complex stuff like this… It’s of its own style and of its own language that’s witty and very intricate.
“You start out with some very intelligent, intellectual people who get drawn into a very instinctual, almost animal confrontation. Things unravel by the end of the play very fast.”
Ghost in the Machine is playing at the Theatre of Western Springs at Feb. 7, 8, 9. 14. 15 and 16 at 8:00 p.m., Feb. 10, 16 and 17 at 2:30 p.m., and Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
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