<em>Underneath the Lintel</em>
David Bazemore

This monologue by a gentle librarian builds slowly into a profound meditation on the nature of experience and the concept of redemption. Tim Bagley plays the protagonist, a mild-mannered sort who gets swept up in the excitement of pursuing the secret behind a library book that has been returned 113 years late. The mystery doesn’t so much get solved as it gets deepened, opening up so wide by the end that it threatens to swallow the speaker whole. Yet there’s resilience to Bagley’s character, and nobility to his quest that becomes stronger as he gets closer to his goal. From one short step over the threshold — out from underneath the lintel, as the title has it — the Librarian develops the will to crisscross the world and to ransack history along the way. China, Australia, America, and more bow down before the character’s all-consuming quest.

Which isn’t to say that he doesn’t remain fairly wimpy, at least in all the comic ways that Bagley so deftly teases out. He’s still afraid of being caught defacing library property, for instance, even though he’s been fired and has taken his things on the way out. He also becomes hooked on Broadway musicals, or one musical at least, Les Misérables, which he first sees thinking that it might be about him. Under Jonathan Fox’s sensitive direction, this one-man show, while not a laugh riot, nevertheless achieves a thought-provoking, lingering presence that defies easy characterization or dismissal.


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