After beginning a normal day at work, in the middle of his most fulfilling time (morning coffee) Elliott (Yehuda Hyman) is approached by a blind man wearing headphones and knocking his stick in rhythm to an unknown beat. He hands Elliott his headphones and out of curiosity, Elliott accepts and is prepared to listen to … Nothing, there was nothing on the headphones. He leaves the old man to his delusions and goes about his way.
As he gets back to his cubicle and on his way to deliver the report he was rushing the entire morning to get to his supervisor he runs into a flamboyantly deaf woman who points and tells him that his answers are leaving him right down the street. Suddenly in a rush of some sort of compulsion as well as the joy of curiosity and interest in his life he doesn’t remember feeling for as long as he remembers, Elliott is guided by the the rest of the Mad 7 out the door, through the city off on a bus, to a strange old hotel with a funny little room, and cozy little bed with a mysterious suitcase that appeared when he wasn’t looking. Later, after walking for days through lands both real and imaginary and still not having a morsel to eat, Elliott is tempted again by the forces of darkness to eat the forbidden food of the Cafe Toledo where not only do they take American Express “they take everything”.
The Mad 7 shows us hope wrapped up in a query covered up in a koan and infiltrated with Mystery.
The most repeated phrase in this play is:“You should now be exactly as I am.”
Pretty scary or inconsequential a statement depending on how you look at it. But Hyman’s plays asks: What if instead of taking it as an order or a suggestion we take it as an affirmation an agreement that we meet as strangers but leave as equals?
Do believe you have a special destiny? A special story that will someday work upon you – evoking your greatest Self – which will touch the Mysterious and leave there Changed? Do you believe it will transform to a new level of understanding of the universe and make you a better participant than ever before? If so . . . how to touch the sphere of possibility?
Elliott seems to have stumbled onto such a path toward a greater personal enlightenment and purpose. The ”how” is the literal as well as the metaphorical journey of The Mad 7. The “why” is the same “why” we all have . . . and that is to become exactly who we might be, perceive beyond the limits of our normal vision into the future, beyond the limits of our normal lives, beyond the limits our current perception.
In short The Mad 7 is a parable about what it means to exist. Are we the sum of our activities, our societal standards, and our scope of our opinions? If we do not look for challenges to our reality are we really living it?
Many times in a one man show, such as The Mad 7, we are awash with wonder that one person can have so many faces. But to have such a diversity as well as such a strong feeling of one on one solidarity among the different incarnations of virtues which are the Mad 7 is truly a wonder to behold.
In order to begin our journey to the realms of the ineffable we start with the common goal that we just want to get away from it all sometimes. Often times we think the way to do that is to be left alone, so we can keep our lives moving along (what we think is) the right track. Yet is the path of least resistance really a path or merely a hole, where the longer we stay still the more firmly rooted we are to our preconceptions and our need for normality and stability? Often times this escape is merely so we may stay in the same place and appreciate our desire to have the same normalcy to return to. Other times we may have an experience like that of Elliot Green in The Mad 7.
Like Elliott, many could always use a redirection and re-exploration of their lives. So if you have the chance check out this play directed by Mara Isaacs. It still open for two more shows this Fringe Festival. Also I would encourage you to check out this link after you are done watching The Mad 7 as it is chock full of information and interviews to help explore further layers of this play later on.
VENUE #4: 4th Street Theatre
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