Sequence Review - How to Randomly Organize Chaos

Is there a gene for luck? Or is luck simply luck? Playwright Arun Lakra’s science-themed play digs into these questions and more with gusto. Like the intertwined strands of DNA, SEQUENCE blends science, faith, and probability into one tale composed of two parallel stories – and perhaps a third attempting to tie the two together into one super-bundle. Almost a metaphor for his own play, Lakra, an ophthalmologist by day and a playwright by night, won the Alberta Writing Competition in 2012. Other awards followed in 2013 and 2014. A believer in informed entertainment, Lakra opined his views of SEQUENCE:  “Time is malleable…sequences can mutate…so what happens in a certain sequence through one person’s eyes might happen in an alternate sequence for a different observer?…this (play) is about trying to reach the heart as well as the brain.”

Theo (Gary Rubinstein) has been named Time Magazine’s Luckiest Man Alive. For 20 consecutive years, he has successfully bet double or nothing on the Super Bowl coin toss, winning millions in the process. Then he meets Cynthia (Kacie Rogers), a pregnant teen who claims that she has figured out his secret. Meanwhile, stem-cell researcher and professor Dr. Guzman (Maria Spassoff), who has been working for years on finding a genetic pattern to her own progressive blindness, is now on the verge of a groundbreaking discovery. Then she meets Mr. Adamson (Crash Buist), a wheelchair-bound student who has done the impossible – failed every single item on a 150-item multiple choice genetics exam. And is convinced that God controls the universe, not chance or genes.

Finally, SEQUENCE asks some thought-provoking questions: Is there a connection between these two stories – and these four characters? Is there a link between logic and metaphysics, science and faith, luck and probability? Will order ever spring from the chaos? Director Bruce Gray has his job cut out for him - how to helm two separate plays straining to be one? Happily, the talented cast seems to be on the same wavelength as all the principals strive to tickle the brain and nudge the heart at the same time.

Of necessity, Jeff G. Rack’s set is painfully simple. After all, one set must suffice for two very separate tales as they fold into each other. J. Kent Inasy’s lighting and Joseph Slawinski’s sound, coupled with Patrick McGowan’s video, all work together to carry the play to its conclusion.

SEQUENCE is a complex and often confounding piece which should appeal to the intellectual side of its audience. Occasional moments of humor are welcome and help to alleviate its “brainy” content. Whether or not the “heart” segment of the drama will fully resonate with the audience may depend on its ability to follow these two parallel strands to their end – or beginning?

SEQUENCE runs through August 20, 2017, with performances at 8 p.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Reuben Cordova Theatre is located at 241 S. Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (on the campus of Beverly Hills High School). Tickets are $30. For information and reservations, call 310-364-0535 or go online.

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