Monday, October 15, 2012

Heresy

Posted by Mondschein

"Heresy" at The Flea, October 13, 2012

(photo: Hunter Canning)

In 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).

Get it?



They 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 bible-like references.

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.

Director 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.

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