“This cunning show finds universal common ground in one man’s field of detritus. It’s a ruefully, comically sentimental piece that plucks a fleeting connective poetry in the seeming randomness of what we hoard.”
—New York Times
Minneapolis, October 15, 2015—In this comically moving one-man show, award-winning actor/illusionist/inventor Geoff Sobelle transforms the McGuire Theater stage into an immersive and immense performance-installation that unpacks our relationship with everyday objects. Alone with a mountain of teetering boxes, a man reaches into the heap to investigate and meditate upon the artifacts of existence. Wander through the debris onstage with Sobelle in search of the meaning of life in a lifetime’s collection of junk. Breaking, buying, finding, fixing, giving, losing, winning, trading, selling, stealing, storing, collecting, cluttering, clearing, packing up, passing on, buried under… a world of things. The Object Lesson will be performed in the William and Nadine McGuire Theater November 4–8, Wednesday–Friday, 8 pm; Saturday, 2 and 8 pm; Sunday, 2 pm. The work is created and performed by Geoff Sobelle; directed by David Neumann; scenic installation design by Steven Dufala; lighting design by Christopher Kuhl and sound design by Nick Kourtides. Part of the Walker’s Immerse Yourself: an onstage performance-installation series.
Geoff Sobelle is a theater artist dedicated to the “sublime ridiculous.” He is the co-artistic director of rainpan 43, a renegade absurdist outfit devoted to creating original actor-driven performance works. Using illusion, film and out-dated mechanics, R43 creates surreal, poetic pieces that look for humanity where you least expect it and find grace where no one is looking. R43’s shows include: all wear bowlers (Innovative Theatre Award, Drama Desk nomination), Amnesia Curiosa, machines machines machines machines machines machines machines (OBIE award – design), and Elephant Room (commissioned by Center Theatre Group). His independent work includes Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl (Edinburgh Fringe First Award) and The Object Lesson (Edinburgh Fringe First Award, Carol Tambor Award, Total Theatre Award, New York Times Critics Pick). He has been a company member of Philadelphia’s Pig Iron Theatre Company since 2001.
All of his work to date has premiered at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival before touring nationally and internationally. Sobelle’s work has been presented at the the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), St. Ann’s Warehouse, HERE Arts Center, The Kirk Douglas Theatre (CTG), Berkeley Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Arena Stage, Studio Theatre (DC), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Bard College, the Barbican Center (London), and has toured to Germany, Italy, France and South Korea.
As a teacher, Sobelle has led workshops all over the world in devised theatre creation, physical approach to character, clown and “jeu.” He is a teacher at the Pig Iron school in Philadelphia (APT) and is on faculty at Bard College. His projects have been supported by the MAP Fund, the Independence Foundation, the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative, the Wyncote Foundation, US Arts International, the Princeton Atelier and the New England Foundation for the Arts. He is a 2006 Pew Fellow and is a 2009 Creative Capital grantee. Sobelle graduated with honors from Stanford University and trained in physical theatre at École Jacques Lecoq in Paris.
Tickets to The Object Lesson are: Wednesday $20 ($18); Thursday – Sunday $25 ($22) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600
Performing Arts programs and commissions at the Walker are generously supported by members of the Producers’ Council: Nor Hall and Roger Hale; Kings’ Fountain/Barbara Watson Pillsbury and Henry Pillsbury; Emily Maltz; Dr. William W. and Nadine M. McGuire; Leni and David Moore, Jr./The David and Leni Moore Family Foundation; Mike and Elizabeth Sweeney; and Frances and Frank Wilkinson.
Additional support is generously provided by members of the Commissioning Circle: Harriet and Bruce Bart, Barbara Broker, Jocelyn Hale and Glenn Miller; Judith and Jerome Ingber; Leonard and Linda Schloff; Elizabeth and John Schott; JoAnn Verburg and Jim Moore; and Binky Wood and Winthrop Rockwell.