Matthew-Lee Erlbach’s new solo play Handbook for an American Revolutionary is a staggering inside look at the United States as seen through the stories of a dozen citizens. Written and performed by Erlbach, the show is based on his travels around the country and the result is extraordinary—part Anna Deavere Smith, part Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. The 65-minute play introduces audiences to a bevy of captivating real-life characters including a trans teen, a white supremacist, a deaf Mennonite child and a West Virginia mom accused of being a terrorist. In a season of one solo performance after another, Erlbach’s Handbook leads the pack, thanks in part to his all encompassing dedication to each character he portrays. The actor seems to disappear, and in his place are distinct citizens who are sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hateful and always surprising. This isn’t the state of the union as told through the lens of Fox News or MSNBC, but rather an honest presentation of 12 people who make America what it is, for better or worse. Handbook for an American Revolutionary runs at the Gym at Judson through August 3, so hurry downtown to see this haunting play before it’s too late.