In the News: Geoff Sobelle's The Object Lesson at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

19 Aug 2014


Geoff Sobelle's The Object Lesson. Photo by Jeremy Abrahams, courtesy of The Guardian.

Geoff Sobelle's The Object Lesson, which first premiered at Philadelphia's 2013 FringeArts Festival, works in the margins between theater and visual art installation, between audience and actor. The absurdist one-man show is an "archaeological dig of the here and now," an interactive installation in which Sobelle is both actor and facilitator. The Object Lesson is currently playing at Summerhall in Edinburgh through August 24, with a subsequent showing scheduled for the BAM Next Wave Festival in Brooklyn in November 2014.

Supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, The Object Lesson immerses the viewer in a room full of objects through which the audience learns about a man's past relationship. Viewers are asked to consider their own relationships to everyday objects, and the ways in which those objects evoke emotions and memories. Since its premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Object Lesson has received extensive praise, and was named a "Fringe First" by The Scotsman. The play is also the winner of the 2014 Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award.

The Times of London gave The Object Lesson four out of five stars. Admiring the play's use of set design, Dominic Maxwell writes, "It's an event even before Geoff Sobelle arrives amidst us all." Read more >

For The Guardian, Lyn Gardner gives the production four stars: "In this offbeat, often surreal and gently whimsical show [Sobelle] looks at all the stuff we lug around with us, and asks whether we need to hang on to aching sense of the need not just for less, but also for that which is truly valued." Read more >

"Genius absurdist theatre," writes Mark Brown of The List. He calls The Object Lesson a "beautifully humorous and gently touching work" and "a gorgeous amalgam." Of Sobelle, Brown adds, he is "both a disarmingly amiable performer and an impressive stage magician." Read more >

Reporting for ArtsBeat at the New York Times, Steven McElroy says, "Mr. Sobelle creates an imaginative and rather obsessively nostalgic world," calling it "a funny, sweet and meticulously crafted production." Read more >

The Object Lesson has received additional press from a number of outlets, including Fest Mag, the Edinburgh Festival website, Playbill, What's on Stage, and further coverage from The Scotsman.