Phil the Void: The Great Brain Robbery

With his full, finely trimmed beard and unknotted bow tie, Phil van Hest looks like the best man at a wedding of ichthyologists. He knows he looks smart and works to discredit himself first in an opening story about himself, a beer, a joint and a bra slingshot; and second, by revealing the reason he's certain he's dumb: the Internet. At age 31, he's of the perfect age to grasp Life 2.0's impact — he's old enough to remember memorizing phone numbers and young enough to feel pressured to keep up with 4-chan memes. "I do not laugh out loud as often as I claim to," he intones in a Hamlet pose, and to make his case that outsourcing our minds to Google will drive us all mad, he draws upon rhesus monkeys, Vietnam tortures and Theseus. Directed by David Fofi, van Hest delivers his sermon like a first-rate street preacher — he knows when to let his doomsaying loom over our heads and when to pop the tension with a joke. A leap to Alan Greenspan and his school of evil fools allows van Hest to glom his case to the idea that the entire modern world's gone to rubbish. In his epilogue, he announces his plan to launch a commune in the Bay Area — and by then, we're swayed to come with. Elephant Theatre Lab, 1078 Lilian Way, Hlywd.; Sat., 8 p.m.; through Aug. 7, philvanhest.com. (866) 811-4111.
Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: July 10. Continues through Aug. 7, 2010


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