Sequences thought-provoking drama is matter of time: review

Sequences thought-provoking drama is matter of time: review

SequenceBy Arun Lakra, directed by Andrea Donaldson. Until Feb. 12 at Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave. Tarragontheatre.com or 416-531-1827.“The question is, which came first?” This line both begins and ends this acutely smart, 80-minute long play by ophthalmologist/writer Arun Lakra, which comes to Toronto garlanded with numerous awards from its development and world premiere staging in Calgary four years ago. Andrea Donaldson directs a sleek production for Tarragon Theatre, featuring an indelible performance by Nancy Palk as genetics professor Dr. Guzman. Article Continued BelowIt’s a fast-moving intrigue in which every detail matters and where possible meanings are layered on each other. This starts with the title, which refers to the genetic code that so obsesses Guzman but also cues attention (as does that opening and closing line) to the order in which things happen: while the play’s two storylines intertwine like a stand of DNA, their temporal relationship to each other (if any) is central to its mysteries. It starts with overlapping monologues, one by Palk’s Guzman giving a very funny lecture to what one can only imagine are the cowering students in her Introductory Genetics course: “I know you’ve heard those campus myths about me. Don’t test me. I have tenure.” The other speaker is Theo (Kevin Bundy), who’s built a career as a self-help guru out of being named Time magazine’s “Luckiest Man Alive,” because he’s correctly predicted the Super Bowl coin toss for 20 years and become a millionaire by doubling down a bet on it every time. Guzman summons one of her students, Adamson (Jesse LaVercombe) to her office because he got all 150 questions on her midterm exam wrong — a statistical near-impossibility. When he arrives in a wheelchair and reveals himself to be a devout Christian, knotty debates ensue about whether his crappy run of luck is God’s will, written into his genetic structure, or just a set of coincidences.

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