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Paulanne Simmons

The “Book of Moron” Is Not for Dummies

Robert Dubac, courtesy of Moment-to-Moment Productions

The Book of Moron
Written and performed by Robert Dubac
Directed by Garry Shandling
From Aug. 12, 2021
SoHo Playhouse 
15 Vandam Street
Closes Oct. 3, 2021
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons Aug. 14, 2021

As “The Book of Moron” opens Robert (Robert Dubac) knows nothing about his inner or outer identify except for what he can read on the hospital bracelet on this wrist. The bracelet says “St. Jude,” which is he assumes is the hospital where he was treated, and Robert Dubac, which he assumes is his name.

A series of letters on the bracelet indicates that he is a white male with retrograde amnesia, apparently caused by a contusion of the left temporal lobe; and that someone had made the decision not to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation if he should stop breathing or his heart cease beating (commonly known as DNR). Robert soon figures out he’s married (he wears a wedding ring); he’s not a nudist (he’s wearing clothing); and he probably has a dog (he finds a dog biscuit in his pocket).

During Dubac’s 80-minute monologue, we are introduced to the various personalities who represent Robert’s inner self (all played by Dubac). His Common Sense is a redneck. His Voice of Reason is an Englishman. His Inner Moron is a stoner. His Inner Asshole smokes invisible cigarettes. And his Inner Child just pouts and makes bad puns. With their help he finds out who he really is… or as much as one man is capable of knowing.

Eventually we even find out how Robert ended up in the hospital: “And before I can figure out why we demand an inquiry into a prison suicide but not a political insurrection – I am out like a light.”

Dubac pokes fun at the usual targets: politicians on both sides of the aisle, tech support that can’t speak English clearly, famous personalities that have fallen from grace (Jerry Falwell, Jeffrey Epstein, Bill Cosby), the politically correct.

He also has lots of fun with both visual and verbal tricks. He creates irony by using language that normally signifies the opposite and by creating situations that are deliberately contrary to what we would expect (those are dictionary definitions). He engages the audience with visual humor, wiggling cigarettes in his ears to indicate “bullshit.” He has the magician’s bag of tricks: newspapers that are torn and remain intact, ropes that remain stiff when held horizontally, curtains that rise and fall mysteriously.

Dubac’s delivery is impeccable. Nevertheless, some of his jokes seem old. All marriage is same sex. Why? Because it’s the same sex over and over. And although 80 minutes is not a lot of time to find yourself, it is a lot of time for an audience to watch you do it.

Dubac covers metaphysics, psychology, politics and the media. But his style is more like that of a huckster at a medicine show than a teacher in the classroom. Dubac is not peddling miracle cures. More likely he’s telling us a shaggy-dog story. But if he had a miracle cure, we might swallow it.

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