• "Plasticity" starring Alex Lyras (Photo - Jessica Sherman).

      “Plasticity” starring Alex Lyras (Photo – Jessica Sherman).

      The promotional intro for this play is “A comatose man re-emerges into consciousness in a multilayered, multimedia theatrical event about the miraculous power of the brain to re-wire and heal itself.” Take each word of that sentence and expand it into a full paragraph and you might get a descriptive peek into the layers and layers of ideas, science, characters, emotions, and sheer visual and mental intrigue and pleasure this play presents and evokes.

      By Carol Edger Germain

      One actor, Alex Lyras, seamlessly and skillfully plays all the characters in the play. Although the artistic setting (projections, lights, a screen at the front of the stage that picked up transparent projections) assisted in the transitioning, nevertheless I have never seen such fluid movement among characters in a play where one or two actors play all the characters).

      We are taken inside the brain of David Rosely as he lies in a coma and as doctors, his twin brother, his girlfriend, and a psychiatrist all weave in and out, wrestling with what to do and when to do it. Meanwhile, and this was the most intriguing aspect of how the play was developed, we are treated to insight into current neuroscience regarding brain plasticity (defined as “the ability of the brain to modify its own structure and function following changes within the body or in the external environment”).

      Plasticity (Photo - Jessica Sherman).

      Plasticity (Photo – Jessica Sherman).

      Lyras and the director, Robert McCaskill, meticulously researched the most current scientific information available, meeting extensively with doctors and scientists to understand how the brain struggles to heal itself, recreate its mind, and regain consciousness. The visuals representing the brain going through the various healing stages are beautiful and fascinating to watch, and knowing they are representing true science made it even more mesmerizing. I will not give away any more about the stages of David’s brain’s attempt to resurrect itself and the consequences among those standing by, but it is a premise that makes you sit in the theater a few minutes after the play ends, thinking wow, just wow, as it continues to flow into your own brain. I would have loved the play if it had been done as sheer fantasy, it was that visually and mentally compelling, but dwelling on the science and possibilities of it for days afterward was a bonus. In fact, I was so taken with it that I am going back to see it again and taking a few friends. Love the theater, too, nice waiting area, refreshments, friendly staff, and comfortable seating.

      • Written by Alex Lyras and Robert McCaskill
      • Directed by Robert McCaskill
      • Performed by Alex Lyras
      • Video design by visual artist Corwin Evans
      • Editing by Emmy Award-winning editor Peter Chakos
      • Original score by Grammy Award-nominated composer Ken Rich
      • Set and lighting design by Matt Richter
      Hudson Guild Theatre
      6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038.

      • Performances:
      Fridays at 8 p.m.: March 10 ONLY
      Saturdays at 8 p.m: Feb. 18, 25; March 4, 11
      Sundays at 7 p.m: Feb.19, 26; March 5, 12
      Mondays at 8 p.m: Feb.20, 27; March 6, 13
      • General Admission: $30. Discount tickets available at plays411.com.
      • Buy tickets here.

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