From the red cushioned seats at Broadway Playhouse, we can see the stage is set minimally—a large blank chalkboard, a push cart of props, and a canvas backdrop with a herd of sheep painted on it, all white save for the one black sheep that stares out at the audience.
The show begins in the dark, with an offstage voice that tells us that this is not Book of Mormon, the hit 2011 Broadway musical, and if we were there for that reason, then the show’s title, BOOK OF MORON, aptly applies to us.
Robert Dubac, creator and star of the show, stands center stage in everyday garb. From the second he walks onto stage until the minute he leaves, he delivers to us his one-man monologue about truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—specifically the truths that have been fed to us and we must unpack from our cultural and social understandings.
Trapped in a coma following an accident, Dubac tasks himself with getting out of said coma by figuring out the truth to life itself, or what the umbrella term truth really means. To aid his journey through the four levels of truth, Dubac’s inner voices—reason, common sense, inner moron, inner child, inner asshole, and his scruples—swap interchangeably to convey to us that life, both ours’ and others’, is nothing more than what we believe to be true, without giving any critical thought toward it.
The political, social, close-to-home, edgy, don’t-go-there, and informational is thrown at us at lightning speed throughout the course of the 80-minute show. Dubac’s performance felt at times more standup than performance, as he’d pitch a joke and wait, or tease us, for our response. In this performance, the fourth wall is nowhere to be found; it is just him and us, or as he put it “There’s about 200 of us here. So what? That’s about 120 brains?”
If watching the news doesn’t give you an existential crisis, maybe this show will, as it brings the hammer down on the everyday idioms we use to get by, such as ignorance is bliss or the stupidity we’ve embraced in the media we consume daily.
The punches pulled in this show, to this Generation Z reviewer, are not necessarily the jokes that are adored by millennials or anyone younger. Topics like marriage, race, and political debate may strike a chord with older generations, perhaps, some of whom might be a good match for this show.
Running Time: 80 minutes, no intermission
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves
Kaitlin Kelly (stage manager)
About the Author:
Margaret Smith is a writer, editor, and critic achieving her B.A. from Columbia College Chicago. Having migrated from small-town Illinois, she now dwells in Chicago with a curious eye for art and a penchant for commentary. When not putting pen to paper, you might catch her about the city sipping coffee and filling in crossword puzzles.