Sunday, September 18, 2011

Love Is the Most Difficult Algorithm in 'Completeness'

Molly (Aubrey Dollar) and Elliot (Karl Miller) work in a computer lab where they develop their own special chemistry in "Completeness." Photos by Joan Marcus.


is funny and smart – kind of like a very good boyfriend – but the boyfriend, Elliot (Karl Miller), in Itamar Moses’ play finds relationships challenging.

All of the characters in “Completeness,” at Playwrights Horizons through 25 Sept., find relationships almost as complicated and difficult to navigate as the rest of us might find the theory of relativity.

Elliot, a teaching assistant in computer technology, and Molly (Aubrey Dollar), a researcher in molecular biology, circle each other in the university’s computer lab. Elliot offers Molly an algorithm that will help her eliminate false positives in the research she is doing on protein bonding.

Their working relationship becomes a flirtation that leads Elliot to abandon his girlfriend, Lauren (Meredith Forlenza, in several roles) and Molly to break off a dalliance with her faculty advisor, Don (Brian Avers, also playing a colleague named Franklin). MF, a very appealing young actress, takes Lauren from being confident and demanding to offering to do better to make Elliot happy. Of course, Elliot is happy to move on.

Science, “or so fashionable theory has it,” as IM’s characters would say, is about the real world, and its language encompasses tangible things. Yet in the world of “Completeness,” it also embodies and expresses the emotional world and its connections. (See video at

Franklin (Brian Avers), Molly (Aubrey Dollar), Nell (Meredith Forlenza) and Elliot (Karl Miller) puzzle over love in "Completeness."

In “Completeness” science is the metaphor for love, loss and loyalty. The talented cast, particularly KM and AD whose characters are at the heart of the play, masterfully delivers the dense and beautiful script.

“Completeness is about regeneration and making things that are broken whole. The regenerative power of love is carefully examined but may or may not have been found wanting. A relationship, like any experiment, can yield a false positive or “an answer that may not be the answer.”

Visit to learn more about “Completeness.”

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