Plasticity Review - A Multimedia Study of Meaning

PLASTICITY co-author and solo performer Alex Lyras explores the exciting frontiers of science and medicine. The term plasticity tells us that the brain has the extraordinary ability to rewire itself, especially after a trauma which seems to remove the patient’s consciousness in one swift motion. With collaborator and director Robert McCaskill, Lyras weaves multidimensional life into a tale of tragedy while portraying the many different individuals who pass through the life of David Rosely, a hospitalized patient in a vegetative state following a stroke.  

Alex Lyras in Plasticity - Photo by Jessica Sherman

We meet his twin brother, his girlfriend, her therapist, and a whole host of the people who matter in his life – and finally even his son. PLASTICITY is a multilayered, multimedia production which connects both the inner and outer worlds of these personalities, their very special relationships with the comatose David and each other, and the progression - neuron by neuron - of David’s life as everyone tries to make sense of what happened.

Alex Lyras - Photo by Jessica Sherman

Lyras does an artful and nuanced job of becoming each of these people as they float in and out of David’s world – along with creating a “scrim sandwich” of thoughts and feelings, conscious and unconscious. In case you don’t know what a scrim sandwich is, just think of a very fine netting placed at the front of the stage which you can see through but which can also hold a projected image. While moving images are projected on the scrim, other different images are projected on the rear of the stage.  Sandwiched in between is Alex Lyras sharing the thoughts, opinions, and emotions of the characters in the production.

Alex Lyras - Photo by Jessica Sherman

PLASTICITY is a joint effort of many talented artists in which the human and the technological elements are blended to create a world removed from reality but also part of it. The amazing skills of a number of techies adds immeasurably to the play. Award-winning sound designer Matt Richter keeps the world spinning, while Corwin Evans, a theatre artist and associate producer who specializes in video design, makes sure that the neurons keep chasing each other. In fact, the entire production team skillfully weaves inner, intermediate, and outer life as they wax and wane, connect and separate. Competent cinematography and digital creation abound in this original show.

Alex Lyras - Photo by Jessica Sherman

The strength of PLASTICITY is its ability to create original, enveloping visual and sound effects while still holding onto the emotional impact of the play. As David’s friends and family struggle with end-of-life issues and whether or not to “pull the plug,” they also address their own mortality and what makes life worth living. Meanwhile, comatose David must try to make sense of the senseless and organize the disorganized.

Alex Lyras - Photo by Jessica Sherman

PLASTICITY blends cutting-edge science with masterful storytelling and technological sophistication as it addresses profound questions of being. This is a poignant and intriguing glimpse into what goes on in the deepest reaches of the brain.

Alex Lyras - Photo by Jessica Sherman

PLASTICITY runs through March 13, 2017, with performances at 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Mondays and at 7 p.m. on Sundays. One special performance will be held on Friday, March 13, at 8 p.m. The Hudson Guild Theatre is located at 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038. Tickets are $30. For information and reservations, call 323-960-7787 or go online

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