Thursday evening, there debuted two remarkable plays, especially for Jamestown, which will play this weekend at the Studio Theater, adjacent to the Reg Lenna Civic Center.
Local actor David Schein is performing two, one-actor plays, which he wrote himself. Both are intensely personal, and both are presented intensely, pulling the audience deep within the action.
The first is called ''Out Comes Butch,'' and was written in the 1980s, in California. Schein once toured the U.S. and abroad with it, as the opening act for comic Whoopi Goldberg.
We first see Butch as a construction worker, wearing coveralls and a hard hat. Butch has a full beard and hair which he wears long, to below his shoulders. Butch is unhappy and unsatisfied with himself and his life. He comes home from his job to a dirty house and a wife who is distant and cold. When she finally leaves him, he begins to search for new fulfillment, always seeking external forces to inspire changes within himself.
He goes to programs such as EST and reads books on self-actualization. His search takes him through drugs and alcohol, pausing to take a gay lover and then a sex change, and ending with radical feminism, a female lover, and beyond.
Sometimes it's odd. Often it's very funny. At times it is quite moving.
The words of the play are well-chosen. He says the kinds of things to himself that people do say to themselves, a rapid-fire alternation between bravado and cries for help, between certainty and near panic. Almost every event he experiences becomes a trial in which he is trying to prove his basic human worth. The audience clearly came to care very much for this very unusual character, even though he certainly wasn't anyone you'll meet on Thursdays at the bowling alley. Or, will you?
The second play is called ''The Infarction.'' The printed program informs us it was written shortly after Schein had a coronary episode while exercising at a YMCA.
The narrative voice captures the wildly swinging ideas which come in and out of the mind of a person who has been stricken. There is fear of death and a desire not to bear the slings and arrows any longer. There is irony and humor, as medical personnel describe hideous treatments and humiliating circumstances which he is facing, alternately warning him to avoid stress at any cost.
He sings. He listens for the rhythm of his own heartbeat, and he tries to will it to be normal. He repeats some sets of words, as though trying to keep them in his mind, despite the pain and the medication. He tries to force himself to interact with other people without their learning that he is in vast distress. He tells himself he's feeling better, then gives way to despair that he will never be well again.
I have only covered a small part of the range of ideas in both plays, but hopefully enough to give you an idea of what the performance involves.
The dual bill will be repeated tonight and tomorrow evening at 8 p.m. There are only three rows of seats in the small theater, so advance reservations are advisable.