In Free Range Thinking, Robert Dubac presents wisdom disguised as wit and high art in the guise of mass-appeal entertainment. This is no easy feat. Audiences that grew up on the televised stand-up showcase programs of the eighties and nineties have been systematically conditioned to respond to the most generic premises and to reject out of hand anything that smacks of messaging. Older audiences who can remember the comedy heyday of Carlin and Pryor, Saul and Bruce shy away from anything that feels empty or pandering.
Dubac's solution to this issue is as elegant as the script he has written to explore the value of critical thinking in a world that encourages purely Pavlovian behavior. Packaging his show as a theatrical event rather than a stand-up act, he sets a tone that allows a demanding audience to take an interest in what he does. Making the humorous nature of his work apparent in the marketing, he draws in the audience that seeks joyous laughter but never tips his hand, never acknowledges the important undertones of his creation.
Using a delightful array of theatrical devices -- magic tricks, basic neuro-linguistic programming, word play, a blackboard that reveals hidden truth and then becomes a doorway to a less-than-comforting experience of enlightenment -- he delivers all the laughs a person could hope for and a great deal more as well. He offers real insight into the human condition, the struggle to find meaning in a modern world, the quest for one's own identity, the complex structure of belief.
From the moment Dubac takes the stage claiming to have lost his memory it is clear that he is a master of his craft, that he controls the moment and that we, the eager audience are in good hands. Dubac embraces his responsibility as a tour guide to the psyche. Chock full of wonderful laughter, joyful surprises and unexpected applause-break moments, Free Range Thinking is a show that is well worth seeing. Seriously.
Free Range Thinking is currently playing at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. For more information about the show and to be apprised of future engagements go to The Facebook page for Free Range Thinking
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