Wednesday, November 21, 2012

IMAGINARY JESUS • Mustard Seed Theatre

The source material for this play, a novel written in 2010 by Matt Mikalatos, has been adapted for the stage by Mustard Seed's artistic director and director of this play, Deanna Jent, and it's currently receiving its premiere.  During the play, our protagonist, Matt (like the author, Matt), tries to hunt down his "imaginary" Jesus -- a Jesus of his own creation, and find the real one.

We start with our narrator Matt (Chad Morris), who oversees all of the action, letting us in on what is going on inside the head of "the character Matt" (Robert Thibaut).  Matt's having lunch with Jesus (Justin Ivan Brown) at their favorite vegan cafe in Portland, when Saint Peter, or Pete (J. Samuel Davis), shows up and challenges the imaginary Jesus's authenticity.  After a brief scrap with the Savior, Pete goes on to explain to Matt that there are a myriad of imaginary Jesuses out there, and the one that had been Matt's invisible companion for awhile was a fake.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

THIS WIDE NIGHT • West End Players Guild

Chloë Moss based her 2010 play on research she did while volunteering at Cookham Wood prison in Kent, England, but in This Wide Night, prison time is only briefly mentioned -- it doesn't focus on prison life.  Instead, it looks at not only how time spent in prison has affected the friendship of two former cell-mates -- Marie (Rachel Hanks) and Lorraine (Jane Abling), but also how it's rendered life on the outside just as formidable a challenge as life on the inside.  Continuing the West End Players' 102nd season, this play, directed under the sure hand of Sean Ruprecht-Belt, has more than meets the eye.

The play begins in Marie's dreary studio apartment in London.  She has been out for awhile, but still not at all acclimated to her freedom.  She only really gets out to go to her night-shift job at a pub.  One evening there's a knock on her door, and she skittishly answers to find Lorraine.  Lorraine is middle-aged and fresh out of prison after serving a 12 year sentence, and in the midst of getting her bearings, Marie's flat is one of her first visits.