Brains in vats

By Mike Carron

Imagine another world. Now in this world, imagine you did not have to see Possible Worlds. It’s a world that should exist; unfortunately, it doesn’t.

When this play opens, the audience learns that George (Trevor Leigh) is dead, and his brain was stolen. The play takes a twist as it follows George through many different realities and his different relationships with a woman named Joyce (Natascha Girgis). George is aware his reality is changing and try as he might, he cannot make the changes stop.

The main question that surfaces in the play, is whether or not we are just brains in a vat being force-fed our lives or free-thinking and free-acting individuals? This concept is interesting and playwright John Mighton does a good job dealing with it at some points. Unfortunately, the play itself does not develop this concept past a superficial level. Instead, Possible Worlds jumps from one approach to another without really getting into the details of the theory.

The acting, however, was outstanding. The actors all seem to have the normally impossible ability to overact, and be deadpan simultaneously. They deliver their lines with ease and comfort. The actor who stood out the most was Jim Leyden, who portrays Berkley, the detective who tries to wrap his head around George’s death while figuring out whether a brain in a vat can think and feel for itself. Leyden plays his frustration and eventual inability to cope with his own reality so well he makes the play worth watching. Unfortunately, the actors are unable to make this play worthy of more than a slight mention.

The play kept audience guessing until the very end. Like Sixth Sense and Fight Club, this play’s ending leaves viewers trying to figure out where clues were given and where the writer may have slipped up.

In thinking back, it is obvious that Mighton worked hard to leave it ambiguous as to what exactly happened. If audiences pay close enough attention, they will learn the secret of Possible Worlds very early in the play.

Possible Worlds is running at the Dr. Betty Mitchell Theatre, from Nov. 10 to Dec. 4. on Wed. to Sat. evenings at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster or online at <<>>.