Veteran actor Scott Plate has performed in local big-name venues from Severance Hall to the Play House. But in Dobama Theatres production of Thom Pain (Based on Nothing), Plate performs the one-man show at an empty Gap store that has been transformed into an 80-seat theater. Doing this play in a formal setting doesnt seem right, he says. It seems better in a room where it looks like people have just shown up.
The script -- by New York playwright Will Eno -- offers its share of intimate moments, especially since its protagonist talks directly to the audience. Throughout the show, the fictional Pain ruminates on his lonely childhood, failed romances, and menial jobs. You feel sorry for him, says Plate. He wants us to realize whats possible in ourselves, if we try to change something fundamental. The experience is meant to be moving, sometimes humorous, and ultimately uplifting.
Plate first heard about the show in 2005, when it debuted in London and went on to win a top prize at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Plate teamed up with Dobama director Joel Hammer to stage its Ohio premiere. Its also Plates first stab at a solo performance. Its scary but intense, he says. Ive never read anything like it. Its a different kind of challenge.
To confront those challenges, Plate tapped into Pains nuances -- from his genius-level IQ to his flirtatious coyness. Its about the human condition, he says. If we care to look deeply into the truth of lifes bumps, warts, and glory, its all here in an hour and 10 minutes.
Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Feb. 4. Continues through Feb. 17