The Aleph Complex

To save herself from her chronically incessant thoughts, Nicky converts them into sounds so she can fall asleep to the sound of rain. This works until, during a bout of crippling social anxiety at college, a thought about her mother turns into a vicious storm. Nicky outruns the storm all the way home, where she returns to her old job at the Container Store and to Mom, who hasn’t left the apartment in five years...
To save herself from her chronically incessant thoughts, Nicky converts them into sounds so she can fall asleep to the sound of rain. This works until, during a bout of crippling social anxiety at college, a thought about her mother turns into a vicious storm. Nicky outruns the storm all the way home, where she returns to her old job at the Container Store and to Mom, who hasn’t left the apartment in five years. While searching for self-help books she meets Borders Guy, the mysterious keeper of the last Borders bookstore on the planet, who introduces her to the Aleph, a Borges-inspired point of overwhelming omniscience he guards in the back of the store. Through a chain of “self-help” both comic and poignant, Nicky, her mother, and Borders Guy struggle to smash down the walls that enclose their lives.
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The Aleph Complex

Recommended by

  • Nick Malakhow:
    24 Aug. 2021
    A beautiful, exquisite piece about mental health, family, and escaping from cycles. The relationship between Naomi and Nicky is so vividly realized, recognizable, and specific. I especially loved how human and real the central driving forces behind this piece were, even when it veers into fabulistic territory. Deborah's use of visual and theatrical metaphors to capture Naomi and Nicky's specific struggles with mental health and anxiety are so original and thought-provoking. A lot of clever comedy also undergirds the poignant and powerful moments of evolution and change. I'd love to see this realized onstage!
  • Cheryl Bear:
    9 Jul. 2021
    A powerful smashing of the borders of anxiety through giving light to the mental struggle with a need for understanding and help finding that strength. Well done.

Character Information

  • Nicky
    18,
    Female
    In a state of bewildering self-repair.
  • Naomi
    36,
    Female
    Nicky’s mother.
  • Borders Guy
    23,
    Male
    He carries both the cool confidence and neurosis of having read the first ten pages of every book at Borders bookstore.

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Swandive Theatre
    ,
    2018
  • Reading
    ,
    Workhouse Theatre Company
    ,
    2014
  • Reading
    ,
    Tea in a Big Mug Productions
    ,
    2012
  • Reading
    ,
    New Theater Project
    ,
    2012

Production History

  • University
    ,
    University of Iowa
    ,
    2013

Awards

Honorable Mention
,
The Kilroys List
,
The Kilroys
,
2015
Runner Up
,
Red Theater Project's National Playwriting Competition
,
,
2014