The Puzzler is a one-act, two person play with minimal set.
Blanch, a self-centered woman, has community service hours to perform for a drunk driving conviction and does so at a nursing home. She sees the easiest way of doing this is sitting with Weldon, one of the residence, and working on the puzzle with him. Weldon, was a mathematician with NASA before a brain tumor took away his ability to remember his past without the help of his stack of notebooks. Each morning, he gets up and reads the parts of his notebooks which might pertain to the day. This is analogous of a computer loading a program. The follow except gives a great idea about the path of the play:
Weldon: Imagine, Blanch, imagine you loved candy. But you can’t eat candy all day for every meal because it’s bad for you, no nutritional value, makes you fat, rots your teeth, and all the undesirable side-effects. Now, you get a brain tumor and when it’s removed, vegetables taste like candy. You eat green beans like they were a stick of licorice. A bowl of salad is like eating a bowl of cotton candy. Brussel Sprouts are like chocolate covered cherries.
Blanch: Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Weldon: It is wonderful, Blanch. It is wonderful. All my life, I’ve loved puzzles. All sorts of puzzles. Now, with what happened to my brain, the world’s a gigantic puzzle. Every morning, I wake up, excited about solving the puzzles this life gifts me with. Tying my shoes is an adventure. My daughter brought me Velcro shoes but I threw them away. There’s no mystery in Velcro shoes. I don’t have to worry about anything in life but solving puzzles. You’ll be coming for a week. You’re a new puzzle for me. I get to solve the puzzle of your unhappiness.
We hope to workshop this play soon and schedule a performance. Updates on that will be posted to the blog.