"Heresy" at The Flea, October 13, 2012
(photo: Hunter Canning)
a new world premiere, the prolific A. R. Gurney returns to The Flea
with an overwrought story set in the near future. Mary (Annette
O'Toole) and Joseph (Steve Mellor) have come to Homeland Security
because their protesting and unseen son, Chris, has been taken into
custody during the latest crackdown. It is here that they must put their
case before Pontius Pilate (Reg E. Cathey).
ask to meet with their old college pal Pontius ("don't call me Ponty,
it's reductive."), since he's the Prefect of the Bureau and might have
information or connections to help. Recording all these events is a
uniformed intern, Mark (Tommy Crawford), pedantically contributing
Phyllis, Mrs. Pilate (Kathy
Najimy) turns up with her husband for the interview since they all
attended college together. The drinks fly but little happens of
consequence until Chris' college buddy Pedro (Danny Rivera) enters to
keep the painful analogy on track.
Sadly, there's not
much to recommend in Mr. Gurney's work beyond the opportunity for Kathy
Najimy fans to get a quick fix. She's having a great time in the
two-dimensional character she's been given, gad about as the other
characters drop the most recent, if ill-placed pop-culture references
including the current presidential campaign. Subtletly is not a word
this play will evoke. All it raised for me were a few cheap laughs.
Jim Simpson seems helpless with the script as well. He corners Ms.
O'Toole into little more than one angry tirade after another and does
less with the rest of the cast.
Production values are
strong. Kate Foster's red, white and blue set evokes the corrupt
bureaucracy, though Brian Aldous' lighting has little opportunity in the
static, room setting.
Heresy runs through November 4. Get tickets here.