Theatre Review: “Sons of the Prophet”
Stephen Karam’s “Sons of the Prophet,” directed by Anna Johnson for Cadence Theatre Company is yet another impressive and expertly directed production for this talented director. Karam’s emotional dramedy is creatively staged and artistically executed on the small stage of Theatre Gym at VA Rep. Joseph and Charles, played by Ryan Bechard and D.J. Cummings, are two Lebanese American brothers who have recently lost their father to a heart attack; which may or may not have been related to a car crash caused by Vin, played by Marquis Hazelwood, a local high school football star’s careless prank.
Joseph has been suffering from a series of strange inexplicable ailments and takes a job working for neurotic, type-A, scatterbrain, Gloria, played by the always charming Melissa Johnston Price, at her publishing house so that he may have access to health insurance. Johnston Price’s portrayal of the batty Gloria is hilarious as she awkwardly tries to bond with Joseph’s family after the loss of their father. But, never one to miss out on a publishing opportunity, we eventually find that Gloria’s main motive is to exploit the family’s connections to Kahlil Gibran, a famous Lebanese poet and author of the enormously popular book “The Prophet,” whose writings are often referenced throughout the play.
Joseph and Charle’s Uncle Bill, played by Alan Sader, decides to move in to the family home after his brother’s sudden death. Salty Uncle Bill, while often offensive and racist, proves to be a very sensitive man who cares deeply about his nephews, who we come to find out, are both gay. Sader plays Bill as stern and hot tempered, but still manages to make him likable and vulnerable as his health, like Joseph’s, is also deteriorating. One of the most endearing relationships in the play is that of Joseph and Charles. D.J. Cummings’ performance is delightful as he provides much of the comedic relief with his sassy one-liners and Bechard is convincing as the pillar that holds his family together.
As a scandal breaks in town due to the judge’s lenient treatment of Vin, Timothy, a news reporter played by Evan Nasteff, comes to town to cover the story and starts a romance with Joseph. While not a very complex character, the appearance of Timothy does highlight Joseph’s increasing feelings of desperation, as he tries to cling to some what of a normal life in the midst of his failing health and personal tragedy.
Terrie Power’s set is quite dynamic and transforms into a bus station, an office, a family home, a hotel room, a doctor’s office, etc. with almost only the movement of three tall panels to split up the stage. The costume design by Lynn West is fantastic and feels authentic, especially considering Jacqueline Jones and Kimberly Jones-Clark each play three or four parts a piece. West’s costuming did well to delineate between the smaller supporting parts.
“Sons of the Prophet” is playing at Theatre Gym at VA Rep.Center through March 9th.
www.cadencetheatre.org for information
www.va-rep.org for tickets
Jen Maciulewicz is theatre critic for GAYRVA.com and is a Richmond local. Jen attended VCU and holds a B.S. in Anthropology. She has starred as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes" and attended VCU’s School of Music. Follow Jen on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jenlaumac.
“It’s an opportune time to have these discussions about reflecting on where we come from.”September 15, 2016
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