Digging through stuff in “The Object Lesson”

Geoff Sobelle contemplates the meaning of "stuff" in "The Object Lesson.  Credit: Geoff Sobelle
Geoff Sobelle contemplates the meaning of “stuff” in “The Object Lesson.
Credit: Geoff Sobelle

One of the late, great George Carlin’s most famous routines skewered our obsession with “stuff,” namely the fact that we refer to our accumulation of things as “stuff” and to other people’s clutter with another, unprintable s-word. According to Geoff Sobelle, that doesn’t just apply to our present-day stuff.

“Archeologists unearthing a really important Etruscan vase are really just digging through somebody else’s trash pile,” Sobelle says. “You might as well be seeing somebody’s wine bottle from two weeks ago in a dumpster. And now that the planet is so overpopulated and we produce so many things, it will be different for future archeologists.”

With that in mind, Sobelle created his first solo show, “The Object Lesson,” as “sort of an archeological dig site of the here and now.” The performance, which premieres this week as part of FringeArts, is a piece of physical theater that lets Sobelle loose on a stage crammed with the detritus of a lifetime.

“I wanted to make a show about people’s relationship to their stuff,” Sobelle explains. “Buying, selling, getting rid of, breaking, losing, finding, trading, storing. In a way, the show is both about meaning and meaninglessness, because what might be meaningful to you is meaningless to me, and vice versa. I find that mysterious and hilarious.”

A Fringe veteran, Sobelle has appeared in several shows with Pig Iron Theatre Company and rainpan 43, his collaboration with actor Trey Lyford. Sobelle was one-third of the ridiculously haired magician trio in last year’s Fringe show “Elephant Room” and played a particularly athletic Hamlet in Lantern Theater Company’s 2009 production. That physicality will now be constrained by a multitude of boxes on the stage of Christ Church Neighborhood House, on a set that Sobelle likens to a massive storage facility. “The thing that was important to me was that you came into a space of potential that was both empty and full at the same time,” he says.

As for undertaking his first solo endeavor, Sobelle says, “I learned a lot about myself during the process. It’s ultimately quite freeing as well.” And of course, after three years of obsessing over things, “I’m dying to get rid of stuff.”

The Object Lesson
Sept. 12-21
Christ Church Neighborhood House
20 N. American St.
$25, 215-413-1318
www.fringearts.com


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.