Hand to God
The Booth Theatre
March 20, 2015
|Photo courtesy of Hand to God|
Hand to God is aptly subtitled “a new American play.” It questions the definitions of good and evil by separating them from the various grey areas in between. A concept every American would benefit to examine and reflect upon. Playwright Robert Askins writes with a unique, edgy wit. The script is strikingly sobering. The show is cunningly directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel. Steven Boyer is stellar as Jason. He and the entire cast (Geneva Carr, Marc Kudisch, Michael Oberholtzer, and Sarah Stiles) serve up authentic performances that are remarkable, raw, and funny.
The first act will make you laugh and agree that yes, when the world hands you more than you can manage, put on a sock puppet, let it curse like crazy, and say the devil made you do it. This is what the main character, Jason, does when he is overwhelmed with feelings of abandonment by the death of his father and the emotional detachment of his mother. The second act gets real and violent and psychological as we see the depth of Jason’s despair. The mood shifts from hysterical to disturbing. Everyone in the audience stopped laughing (at different times) as they began to realize the level of volatility and frustration the character was embodying.
The play was so good that I bought the refrigerator magnet… at intermission. I usually wait until the end of the show. This is strong seal of approval in my book, and the best $10 ever spent.
|My refrigerator Broadway show magnet collection.|
Hand to God is presently in previews and officially opens April 7. Go see this play! It is a skillfully crafted work that uses humor to unmask truth. A truth we all need to face.
A personal take away: As a NYC Public High School teacher, certain students tend to go off (on a rant) on a regular basis with various expletives for any number of reasons. Perhaps the next time this happens (I am thinking of one student in particular), I will picture her devilish voice coming from a sock puppet attached to her left hand. This will allow me to 1) laugh at the absurdity of the situation, and 2) be empathetic to the level of fear and hurt that her outburst is covering. Profound or sarcastic? We’ll see. I am sure I will have a chance to put this experiment into action this week.
|Steven Boyer in "Hand to God"|
Photo courtesy of Hand to God