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N OF 1

N OF 1

Dark Comedy / Drama

3 Male, 1 Female, 1 Any Gender.
All actors: any ethnicity

  • Will Lascoh, 43, a corporate lawyer

  • Julia, 39, his domestic partner

  • Dr. Gabe Doctor, 35, a neurologist

  • Professor Arnold Pick, 55, born 1851, died, 1924

  • 4 characters played by a single actor of any gender:

    • Dr. Lasik, an HMO physician,

    • Fangmeier, Pick's assistant

    • Gloria, a home health aid

    • Masako, a support group leader


Will is a lawyer whose slide into dementia is accompanied by a sudden talent for painting dazzling works of art. Even as Will loses his ability to speak and understand language, his creative skills flourish. Julia, his partner, is tormented by Will's increasingly aberrant and violent behavior. She and Gabe, a neurologist, are challenged to control Will's outbursts without quashing his newly discovered creative abilities--the last expression of his undaunted human spirit.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a progressive brain disorder that causes dramatic changes in behavior and language. Individuals with FTD may begin swearing in public, overeating, drinking, shoplifting, and making inappropriate sexual comments. Not all patients with FTD lose cognitive abilities in a predictable fashion; some develop a new interest in painting or music and produce remarkable works of art. Thus the juxtaposition of a debilitating change in personality with the emergence of artistic creativity. FTD is thought to be the second most common form of dementia, after Alzheimer's Disease.

n of 1 explores how the human spirit tenaciously survives, even flourishes, despite extraordinary challenges. The rise of new, creative skills in patients with dementia has forced neurologists to rethink fundamental beliefs about dementing conditions and the care of their patients. Doctors must reimagine their patients as whole people with both strengths and weaknesses and help them cope with their diseases by using art and music. The focus of the play is not a medical condition, but rather how the condition joins artistic expression and neuroscience, what it tells us about the brain, and what it means to be human.

n is the name of the arithmetic variable used to symbolize a total number of data samples- -the number of patients in a study or the number of brains examined. n is always too small, too few patients or brains. And yet, when confronted by an anomaly, a neurologist must take a leap of faith, despite a sample size of only one. The play juxtaposes the science of neurology with a personal belief that we are more than just neurons and brain matter, the faith, based on our own personal data point, our "n of 1," in the existence of the human soul.

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