By Ben Miles
Arun Lakra’s award-winning play, “Sequence” is having its west coast premier at Beverly Hills’ Theatre 40, billed as a science thriller ( two terms rarely combined), “Sequence” is an existential exploration that questions God, DNA, Fibonacci numbers, the Golden Ratio, luck and synchronicity in a manner that is astonishingly dramatic, gripping and, believe it or not, funny.
Two characters appear on stage, one, Dr. Guzman (brilliantly portrayed by Maria Spassoff), is a scientist and college professor researching a degenerative eye disease from which she suffers. The other is Theo who has recently authored a book on luck (Gary Rubenstein wears this role like a tightly-tailored suit of clothes).
In a unique juxtaposition, the playwright poses Dr. Guzman as an advocate for conclusions steeped in research and the scientific method, while Theo’s faith rests in the concept of luck, whether good or bad.
A student referred to simply as Mr. Adamson (played intensely by Crash Buist) is confined to a wheelchair and has failed an exam in Dr. Guzman’s class, missing every question on a 150 question test, thereby defying all odds. He’s a devout believer in God and the Holy Christian Scripture.
Meanwhile, Cynthia, a bright reader of Theo’s “Lucky” book challenges the author’s premise by arguing points of probability and chance happenings (this role is well embodied by the striking Kacie Rogers).
Such an intelligent script requires smart direction, and fortunately such is provided by Bruce Gray, who believably creates a parallel universe in which these four characters, onstage simultaneously, without the paired scenarios interacting, except for moments when they appear to be listening to the dialogue of the other characters, as if they are receiving an intuitive vibe from the other side.
With superb stagecraft ( Jeff G. Rack, set design; Michelle Young, costumes; J Kent Inasy, lighting; Joe “Sloe” Slawinski, sound; Patrick McGowan, videographer) and rich dialogue theatergoers can expect to have their imaginations tweaked and their intelligence stimulated. Probability is excellent that audiences will remember this fine play long after its evocative closing scene.“Sequence” continues at Theatre 40, 241 S. Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Thurs. at 8:00, Fri. at 7:00. Sat. at 8:00, Sun. at 2:00. Ends August 20. For reservations, call (310) 364-0535. For online ticketing, visit www.thestre40.org.