By turns funny, depressing, and frightening, Thomas Gibbon’s “Uncanny Valley” is always riveting. The play, which International City Theatre is presenting in the Beverly O’Neill Theater at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center through May 7, has been called by the New York Times “a techno take on the Pinocchio story.”
With a cast of two, an android named Julian played chillingly by Jacob Sidney and neuroscientist Claire convincingly played by Susan Denaker, the drama, set in the future but believable as our own time as well, explores the relationship of the two as Claire teaches Julian how to be human.
During the course of the story Julian “grows up” from a talking head to a fully functioning human. Or does he?
When human consciousness and DNA are implanted in Julian, there is an amazing transformation, but the “uncanny valley” effect begins to come on very strongly! What is an “uncanny valley?”
It’s a psychological term for the point at which a creepy feeling overtakes us when a thing is almost human, but not quite. It’s when fascination becomes revulsion. This is a play you will mull over and talk about for a while.
See it with friends and prepare for some interesting discussion. This production is excellent and will stay with you long after you’ve left the theater.
Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The cost is $47 on Thursdays and Fridays, $49 on Saturdays and Sundays.