The Santa Paula Theater Center plunges ahead in its 2013 season with the original drama Random by Michael Perlmutter, directed by Anthony Stetson, and starring Gabriel Olivera and Raleigh Jackson Jones, with Kenny Dahle, Tammy Mora, Paul Newman, Zach McKinley, Joyce Rieske and Jennifer Roach.
The venue will be the center's alternative one, "Back Stage at Santa Paula Theater Center."
When it was a work-in-progress, Random was called Random Acts. With the shorter title, the playwright's description still holds: "[Random] is a two-act play that examines our preconceptions of time, normalcy and our ideology of psychology. June Cessario is a young, newly married, psychologist treating an unusual patient, Theodore Stavos, who claims he is unable to linearly integrate his soul with his body. While his body ages regularly day to day, like the rest of us, Teddy’s conscience (or soul if you will) is not tethered to the same timetable.
"He may live a day at age 12 and then another at 42, 'jumping' between the moments of his own life until the last moment at the end of July 2011. However that date is looming closer and in order to save his life he must learn to correct course before it’s too late."
Now, to me, this sounds a lot like the pickle Billy Pilgrim finds himself in, in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five: “Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.” Isn't that another way of describing Stavos's predicament? At the end of the novel, Billy concludes that life is just a succession of moments, "strung together in perfect random order."
Not that Vonnegut said all there was to say about this subject. Indeed, by exploring the problem in a context of psychotherapy, Perlmutter has ingeniously flung open the door to infinite variations upon this particular image of dissociation.
"Told through vignettes of recorded appointments," Perlamutter goes on, "deposition statements and overlapping memories: Time lines indeed begin to jumble. Story arcs and discoveries emerge out of linearity as June sets about to help Teddy through his journey only to be caught up questioning her own choices and whether to believe her patient is crazy, deceitful or what he claims to be."
Random plays at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays, Aug. 9-25 (no performance Aug. 17).
Tickets are $15 for general admission; $12 for seniors, students and military, and may be purchased at the door before the performance, or reserved by calling the SPTC box office at 805.525.4645 or online by clicking here.