Sequence (Second Edition)

By (author): Arun Lakra

“Luck is like irony. Not everybody who thinks they got it, got it.”

Theo has been named Time Magazine’s Luckiest Man Alive. For twenty consecutive years he has successfully bet double or nothing on the Super Bowl coin toss. And he’s getting ready to risk millions on the twenty-first when he is confronted by Cynthia, a young woman who claims to have figured out his mathematical secret.

Stem-cell researcher and professor Dr. Guzman is on the verge of a groundbreaking discovery. She’s also learned that one of her students has defied probability to get all 150 multiple-choice questions wrong on his genetics exam, but it’s not until he shows up to her office in the middle of the night that she’s able to determine if it’s simply bad luck.

The two narratives intertwine like a double helix of DNA to examine the interplay between logic and metaphysics, science and faith, luck and probability. Belief systems clash, ideas mutate, and order springs from chaos. With razor-sharp wit and playful language, Sequence asks, in our lives, in our universe, and even in our stories, does order matter?

AUTHOR

Arun Lakra

Arun Lakra is a writer, doctor, and father. As a writer, Arun has produced a book on laser eye surgery, a supernatural thriller screenplay, a song to protest the demotion of Pluto, a heartfelt ballad about puke, a line of misunderstood T-shirts, and his share of illegible prescriptions. Sequence is his second stage play. His first play received rave reviews for balancing a wobbly table in his basement. Arun lives in Calgary with his wife and kids and divides his work week between his creative endeavours and his ophthalmology practice.

Reviews

“An intellectual Rubik’s cube that challenges us to consider some of our most profound questions in a search for some kind of alignment.”


“So often the answer to a play or story is predictable, hidden obvious in the text as the tale unfolds. Here, as the stories twist and twirl, as parallels emerge and cross each other, the solution seems reachable, even evident, and yet unknowable. [Sequence] climaxes in a moment that bursts the heart, conjures infinity. It answers its questions in a way that is loud and immediate, satisfying and yet unexpected.”


Sequence is a smart, funny, fast-paced play on the nature of luck and love that will leave both your head and your heart spinning.”


“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in love with intelligent, complicated and ominous psychological thrillers. The ones that give me chills and make me jump at the slightest provocation for days afterward . . . Sequence does not disappoint.”


“Lakra’s writing style is a little bit Aaron Sorkin . . . a little bit David Mamet . . . and a whole lot of Tom Stoppard . . . all coming at you like a cavalcade of playwriting’s greatest hits over the past three decades. Sequence balances smart and heart.”


Awards

  • STAGE International Script Competition 2012, Short-listed
  • James Tait Black Drama Prize 2014, Long-listed
  • Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding New Play 2013, Winner
  • Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama 2014, Winner
  • Woodward-Newman Drama Award 2013, Winner
  • Calgary Theatre Critics Award for Best New Script 2013, Winner
  • Grand Prize in Alberta Playwriting Competition 2011, Winner
  • Excerpts & Samples ×

    Lights up.

    Dr. Guzman and Theo enter. Theo carries an unopened umbrella.

    They converge at the whiteboard. It shows a mess of diagrams, numbers, and words.

    Dr. Guzman turns to face the board. She finds an eraser, wipes the board clean.

    Theo turns to face the audience. With mock trepidation, he pops open the umbrella.

    Playfully, he peers out from under it, looks upward. He closes the umbrella.

    Theo moves to the ladder. He circles it. Mysteriously. Mischievously.

    Dr. Guzman takes a moment to find a marker. She accidentally drops it, picks it up again.

    Abruptly, Theo ducks under the ladder. He emerges, welcomes the applause.

    Chest pain! Is he having a heart attack? No, he’s just joking around.

    Dr. Guzman writes on the board: Which came first?

    Theo strides to a wall mirror. He stumbles, almost trips on the way.

    Dr. Guzman addresses the audience.

    Theo fixes his hair in the mirror.

    Dr. Guzman: The question is, which came first?

    Theo suddenly takes a big swing with his umbrella handle, smashing the mirror.

    The chicken or the egg?

    Theo: Macbeth!

    Theo looks up to the heavens, opens his arms, waits for the lightning bolt that never comes.

    Dr. Guzman: I submit to you, despite popular misconception, that the question is not rhetorical.

    Theo addresses the audience.

    Theo: Luck is like irony. Not everybody who thinks they got it, got it.

    Dr. Guzman: One had to come first. Wouldn’t you agree? Unless you postulate simultaneous creation. That is, unless you postulate God.

    Dr. Guzman writes on the board: God.

    Theo: Luck is like breasts. It’s relative. If everybody had big breasts, we’d just call them breasts. And we wouldn’t stare. As much.

    He picks up a marker. He writes on the board: Luck.

    Dr. Guzman: But we’re scientists, are we not? At least until your final results are posted. And we know Borel’s Law states if the odds of an event are less than one in ten to the fiftieth, that event will never happen in the entire time and space of our known universe.

    Theo: You are not all lucky; I’m sorry to have to break it to you. In fact, I suspect the truly lucky ones are those whose wives did not drag them to a book reading three hours before kickoff on Super Bowl Sunday.

    Dr. Guzman: So the chances of the chicken and the egg evolving simultaneously are perilously close to zero. Ergo, it must have been sequential.

    Theo: Take a guy in a wheelchair who can’t even take a crap by himself. Ask him if he considers himself lucky. Trust me. He’ll say yes. Every time. He has persuaded himself he’s the luckiest guy in the world. But he’s not. You know why?

    Pause.

    Because I am.

    Dr. Guzman: Everything happens sequentially. Music. DNA. Every story ever told. There is an order to the universe. If chicken, then egg. Or if egg, then chicken. And, even more importantly, the order implies causality. Egg creates chicken. Or chicken spawns egg.

    Theo: What determines success? Does a Nobel Prize recipient stand up and say, “I’m an average schmuck who just got lucky”? No, they won’t tell you that. But I will. Because in many ways I’m just like you. I put on my pants one leg at a time—always the right one first, as someone once pointed out to me.

    Dr. Guzman: But whatever you do, do not tell me it doesn’t matter. That’s a cheat. The only thing I detest more than cheating is laziness, and chaos is lazy. Entropy is lazy. God is lazy.

    Dr. Guzman circles the word God.

    Theo: Except, on the luck scale, I am off the charts. If you look at the odds I’ve fortuitously overcome . . . I’m told I’m a one in a billion. That’s with a B!

    Dr. Guzman: Order is sweat. Order is who you are and why you’re here today. In this classroom. On this planet. Wasting oxygen.

    Theo holds up a book.

    Theo: My book is called Change Your Luck. And that is the reason you’re here today.

    Dr. Guzman: So which came first? You may not know right now, but by the end of my course you will hypothesize an answer, support it, and commit to it.

    She underlines which came first.

    Theo: There are a thousand books out there that offer to change you in some way. Change your attitude. Your diet. Your golf swing. You know the best way to shave a couple of strokes off your score?

    Pause.

    Get a hole in one.

    Theo circles the word luck.

    Dr. Guzman: I’m telling you right now, you’d better start thinking about it. The last question on your mid-term exam will be this . . . Which came first? A: the chicken. B: the egg. C: simultaneous. And if anyone is audacious or careless enough to put down C, that will earn you an automatic F and you will be shot. I know you’ve heard those campus myths about me. Don’t test me. I have tenure.

    Theo: Now before we get started, let me ask you a question.

    Dr. Guzman reaches for a white cane, smacks it against her hand.

    Dr. Guzman: What jury would convict a blind woman?

    Theo reaches into a jar full of papers.

    Theo: Anybody feel lucky today?

    The board shows:

    Which came first?

    Luck              God

    Reader Reviews

    Details

    Dimensions:

    128 Pages
    8.45in * 5.45in * .30in
    .35lb
    160.00gr

    Published:

    March 16, 2020

    ISBN:

    9780369100726

    Book Subjects:

    DRAMA / Canadian

    Featured In:

    All Books

    Language:

    eng

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