24 November 2009

Review: On Ego

On Ego
Red Stitch Actors Theatre
22 November 2009
Red Stitch Theatre


Mick Gordon and I would argue to the death over many of the issues discussed in his theatrical works; which is why I’m beginning to really love his On Theatre creations.

Gordon dramatises contemporary debates. Earlier in the year MTC gave us Grace (On Religion) and Red Stitch close their year with On Ego. Gordon wrote Grace with philosopher A C Grayling, and On Ego was a collaboration with neuropsychologist Paul Brocks, whose book Into The Silent Land explores what makes ‘meat into mind’; how the ‘awesome’ behaviour of neurons in the kilo and a half of meat in our bone box head makes us believe that there is something unique and worthy called ‘I’.

Whereby I felt that Grace was trying to lecture me about the impossibility of God, On Ego (despite including a genuine lecture) questioned and doubted the logic of fact and reveals how even the most firmly held beliefs can disappear the instant they are truly put to the test.

Alex (Dennis Moore) lectures that the brain is a story telling machine and our concept of self is just a story, but he is slapped by his own convictions when his wife Alice (Andrea Swifte) has a brain tumour and he is replicated when a routine teleport goes wrong. In a world where science fiction is fact, the dilemmas reveal the depth and the shallowness of their beliefs and, more importantly, make the audience question what they would do if faced with the same situation.

Creative industries thrive on the uniqueness of individuals – engineers and two-dollar shop owners don’t invite the opinion of reviewers. So On Ego is a fascinating and ironic exploration of the concept of self. By embracing the lecture and soapbox aspects of the work, Red Stitch’s production gently draws us into the thoughts of the characters; thoughts that contradict, support and dismiss their beliefs.

On Ego doesn’t ask us to take a side, but makes sure that we try to make a decision about what we would do if we had risk the loss of ourselves.

I don't think I'd press the green button.

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

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