Brilliant Adventures by Alistair McDowall

Brilliant Adventures

Brilliant Adventures written by Alistair McDowall directed by Jake Staley

Staged Reading
Dates: January 27. 2023 at 7 pm
January 28, 2023 at 2 pm
Venue: Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89119
Ticket price: Free

Brilliant but troubled, Luke invents a device that will change the world. But when a mysterious outsider reveals his own plans for the young man’s creation, Luke’s family, apartment, and in fact, the entire universe become endangered. A dark comedy that understands that genius can often be found in the strangest of places.

Director's Note

There is an interesting and haunting question poised in the plot of Brilliant Adventures. It revolves around this somewhat innocuous quote from one of the characters. 

“I know you just want the same as everyone else – A nice house, enough money, and your family around you. 

But that will never happen. Because this place is rotting, and things that rot attract vultures and dogs. So why shouldn’t we exploit the market that’s left? Turn it into something productive.” 

 It is a foreboding idea: to salvage what’s left of a decaying society and turn it into profit for others. There’s some logic in there, maybe. Make the most of a bad situation by squeezing the last material profit out of a dead limb. Pumping money into welfare programs and homeless shelters is another option, but does it make a difference? Aren’t we just enabling more drug use and complacency? Is it not more ethical to ascribe to a personal responsibility mindset and pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps? Stop trying to help others by giving them free things they didn’t earn? 

 Do I think these are viewpoints closely related to my own? Not in the slightest. But I always find it compelling to hear the other side of an argument I feel so strongly about. The one I like most in this particular debate, boiled down: Are we responsible for our own lives and events happening in them? 

 I do believe we are responsible for ourselves, sure. We make a lot of choices in life. Some detrimental, some meaningless, some involuntary. But they are still choices that have consequences, good, bad, or indifferent. We most often forget about them, but there are a select few which linger for a lifetime. And we feel bad about them. And we obsess over them. And it gets us stuck.  

This is a story about being stuck because the past is unchangeable. And therefore, we become unchangeable in the future due to our past. It’s a terrible, dreadful feeling… the feeling of hopelessness and regret over things we no longer control and wish so desperately to change.

This is the conundrum Brilliant Adventures presents. Are the characters responsible for their situation? Or are they hopelessly trapped inside it?

I haven’t found a way to solve the puzzle yet, but maybe you can. There’s hope for me there.