Playwright: Brandon Wicke
Cast: Kevin Ray, Nicolas Turcotte
Director: Brandon Wicke
Review by: John Bandler
Third Person, written by Brandon Wicke, who also directs and manages the stage, is reminiscent of Samuel Beckett’s absurdist play Waiting for Godot. I enjoy thought-provoking plays, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The physical setup is as follows. Companion travelers George (Kevin Ray) and Byron (Nic Turcotte) have pitched their small tent at a wall. The wall inexplicably bursts into writing. We, the audience, then follow on by listening to and watching our dual protagonists, and reading the “third person” from the writing that scrolls forwards, and often backwards, on the wall behind them.
Who are George and Byron, where specifically are they headed, and how and why? You should decide whether these questions are answered, or even need to be answered.
This play explores the questions: do we exist, and if so, assuming there is a good reason for our existence, does such existence offer us free will, or are all the decisions we make preordained? Or are we perhaps living in a dream world, whose dangers we can opt out of simply by “waking up”?
The writing on the wall is the “self-proclaimed voice of fate” that “goads our two protagonists on, preying on their fears and anxieties, tempting them towards a profound understanding—or so it claims. . .”
“I know everything you’re going to do,” says the third person.
This “person” alternately unites and divides George and Byron as they grapple with their untenable situation.
The drama is anchored to Byron’s recurring dream about being chased by a Minotaur. “The Minotaur doesn’t get me in the end,” says Byron. “I wake up. I transcend.”
That’s what the men struggle with as they are driven to wrestle both with each other and the wall’s confident pronouncements: how to outwit the all-knowing “third person”—how to transcend.
How odd, that the trace of the absurd shows up, to me at least, in another play, Betting on the Riverman, at the HTI venue. Nice, Dr. Bandler. I will try to see this production, then. TNgM