The stage is in semi-darkness and on it is a desk with laptops, a robot with a balloon head that later expands with a stick figure face sitting in a chair, and a beer can on the floor. We hear an authoritative woman’s voice babbling scientific jargon and Hector Castillo’s eerie modern music. A beach ball rolls out onstage. On the white back wall of the stage, starry black and white images of a beach scene with sand, waves and palm trees are projected.
Victor Morales enters and introduces himself and notes that we are at Dixon Place. Mr. Morales who created this piece is stocky, bald, bespectacled, and possessed of a quirky everyman presence. For just under an hour, he delivers an amusing lecture with serious overtones enhanced by the illustrative projections.
In the last 100 years or so, the borders of “reality” has been expanding, it started with broadcast radio, where one could hear voices from other places, where one could know what is happening across town, on another state, on the other end of the world.
So with these communication technologies, the Internet and so on, we carry the world on our pockets and in our pockets there is not only facts, but there are many stories of fiction and dreams and nightmares.
Morales gets frustrated with a system error preventing the beach visuals from turning to color and asks for suggestions from the audience. Eventually it works and now it is in dazzling color. Later there are images of Picasso and Francis Bacon paintings. There are also intriguing extracts from video games that he designed that pointedly do not use guns.
He fiddles with remotes, a smartphone, and at the laptops with low-key physicality and at times with accomplished stand-up comedy timing. His patter is often funny with its scientific shadings. The piece abruptly concludes, embodying the show business adage “Always leave them wanting more.”
Rob Lariviere’s bold lighting design vividly complements all of the proceedings conveying the desired high-tech qualities. The voice-overs by Maggie Hoffman and Joseph Silovsky who also designed the droll robot are enjoyable. These production elements all greatly aid in the show’s success.
In Quantum Joy, Victor Morales’ persona and material entertain occasionally with an air of melancholy and that gives the piece a layer of depth and debatable profundity.
Quantum Joy (Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM through December 19, 2015)
Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street, in Manhattan
For tickets, call 866-811-4111 or visit http://www.dixonplace.org
Running time: 65 minutes with no intermission