Encore Michigan

Open Book starts season with ‘The Watson Intelligence’ September 13

Uncategorized September 06, 2019

TRENTON—Open Book Theatre Company open its sixth season with the time-jumping story of The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, playing September 13 – October 12.

The play by Madeleine George examines how we use technology to connect – and sometimes disconnect – from each other, weaving together 4 Watsons: Dr. Watson, trusty sidekick to Sherlock Holmes; Thomas A. Watson, loyal engineer who built Bell’s first telephone; Watson, the unstoppable super-computer that became reigning Jeopardy! champ; and Josh Watson, an amiable techno-dweeb just looking for love. Joe Zarrow, a newcomer to the Open Book stage, discussed the challenges and rewards of playing the 4 Watsons. “I’ve played multiple characters in one play plenty of times, but Watson offers a greater challenge. Usually these sorts of multi-role tracks are comic relief or utility characters. In this play, the individual characters have their own emotional arcs, and exist in their own stylistic worlds, from Victorian Gothic to 30s screwball to contemporary realism. And I have to switch between these modes and arcs while almost never leaving the stage, so I’m extra-dependent on my talented, generous castmates who come onstage in succession and help bring me into each unique moment and world.”

The audience will have fun connecting the dots between the characters and story arcs. Open Book Artistic Director Krista Schafer Ewbank is directing. “Even though the story spans over a century, we see the same struggles. Technology can help us connect with each other, or we can use it to distance us from our very real and actual need to be vulnerable and dependent on others. If we are using technology to replace human interaction, we’re doing it wrong. Just as today we use our cell phones to keep in touch, sometimes they keep us from truly seeing the people closest to us. The struggle isn’t new. The story is a wonderful and hopeful examination of our need for each other, and what true connection can bring us.”

The cast includes Joe Zarrow as Watson, Annabelle Young as Eliza, and Patrick Loos as Merrick. The set is designed by Bradly Byrne, lights designed by Harley Miah and costumes designed by Cheryl Zemke. Jillian Joie Dahl is Stage Managing.

Individual tickets are only $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors, and $15 for students, with all tickets for the opening night gala at $30 each. Season tickets are now on sale for all 5 shows offer up to a 25% discount: $100 for general admission, $80 for seniors, $65 for students, and $125 for opening nights. Tickets can be purchased online at openbooktc.com. More information can be found online or by calling 734 288-7753. Many of the shows feature adult themes and language, contact the theatre for more information.

Week of 12/9/2019

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