GROUP: Geoff Sobelle
ATTENDED: Fri., Sept. 13, 7:00 pm, Christ Church Neighborhood House
CLOSES: Sat., Sept. 21
BRIEF SELF-DESCRIPTION: "Alone with a mountain of boxes, all filled with the stuff of lifetimes, a man reaches into the heap to investigate the artifacts of everyday existence."
WE THINK: Startling from seemingly aimless beginning to mindbending finale, The Object Lesson opens with the large fourth-floor theater space stripped to its brick walls and worn gym floor and filled around the edges with huge piles of cardboard boxes. Some are seats, but most are filled with a life's detritus, and at first, we're encouraged to explore. Do it. It's like a gift-wrapped garage sale.
Eventually, Geoff Sobelle strips open some boxes and a room unfolds in front of us. Like that messy person who knows where everything is, he leads us from one end of the vast room to the other, finding stuff that becomes the meaningful artifacts of that most fascinating adventure — life. Time even folds, as phone conversations we overhear repeat from the other point of view. "There's a fine line between vintage and crap," ahhh.
He transports us into the past — a trip to France, a magical night under the stars — and then a bittersweet relationship created with a drafted audience member. Then, in a feat of accelerated time-lapse, an entire lifetime is pulled from one amazing box.
It's all so magical, so apparently effortless and spontaneous, that logical thoughts intrude: How did he do that? Who's going to clean all this up? Push those nagging questions aside and embrace the show — and let it embrace you. It's a beautifully whimsical and profound experience.