From toothpicks alone, the strange, silent boy in Andrew Irons’s NON-D constructs a perfect orb, a flower, a great American city. Marvels of engineering, his fabrications resist demolition—except by one young woman, his soul mate (Sarah Bellows). By selecting just the right toothpick, she can send any work of the young genius (Jeremy Ellison-Gladstone) tumbling down.
In the first act, the playwright fashions his fantasy world with a delicate touch from elements of the boy’s history. These include two youthful romances of his mother (Margie Stokely)—one with a sensitive introvert (Arthur Aulisl), the other with a brash engineering professor (William Peden). Either might be the boy’s father.
In a narrative frame, the boy as adult (Jeremy Brisiel) tells a conference audience his story. Under Jessica Davis-Irons’s nimble direction, brief scenes from the past spring up out of sequence and melt away. To enhance them, the ANDHOW! company’s talented design team has created an all-white set that takes on moods from its many-shaded lighting and its soundscape of music, silence, and cascading toothpicks.
NON-D is an ambitious, provocative play with some fine ensemble acting. Its first act enchants as it drops tantalizing hints. But, sadly, after the intermission Irons loads on plot and symbolism with a heavier hand, bringing down his structure like the intricate contrivances of his boy wonder.