Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Pain and Gain 

An old Gap store returns to life as an actor's playground.

Veteran actor Scott Plate has performed in local big-name venues from Severance Hall to the Play House. But in Dobama Theatre’s production of Thom Pain (Based on Nothing), Plate performs the one-man show at an empty Gap store that has been transformed into an 80-seat theater. “Doing this play in a formal setting doesn’t seem right,” he says. “It seems better in a room where it looks like people have just shown up.”

The script -- by New York playwright Will Eno -- offers its share of intimate moments, especially since its protagonist talks directly to the audience. Throughout the show, the fictional Pain ruminates on his lonely childhood, failed romances, and menial jobs. “You feel sorry for him,” says Plate. “He wants us to realize what’s possible in ourselves, if we try to change something fundamental. The experience is meant to be moving, sometimes humorous, and ultimately uplifting.”

Plate first heard about the show in 2005, when it debuted in London and went on to win a top prize at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Plate teamed up with Dobama director Joel Hammer to stage its Ohio premiere. It’s also Plate’s first stab at a solo performance. “It’s scary but intense,” he says. “I’ve never read anything like it. It’s a different kind of challenge.”

To confront those challenges, Plate tapped into Pain’s nuances -- from his genius-level IQ to his flirtatious coyness. “It’s about the human condition,” he says. “If we care to look deeply into the truth of life’s bumps, warts, and glory, it’s all here in an hour and 10 minutes.”
Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Feb. 4. Continues through Feb. 17

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Speaking of Highlights

More by Cris Glaser

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 9, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation