(Please click on the title to see the complete review.)
Even as capable a playwright as A.R. Gurney can miss the mark occasionally, as he has with this lame parody at The Flea. It may have seemed a clever idea to transpose New Testament figures into a dystopian America of the near future, but it doesn't work for me. Joseph (Steve Mellor) and Mary (Annette O'Toole) have come to see Pontius (Reg E. Cathey), the prefect of the New American National Guard to plead for their son Chris, who has been arrested in the most recent in a long series of crackdowns. They are soon joined by Phyllis (Kathy Najimy), Pontius's ditsy wife; Pedro (Danny Rivera), the college roommate who betrayed Chris; and Lena -- short for Magdalena -- (Ariel Woodiwiss), a sex worker who has fallen for Chris. The proceedings are being transcribed by Pontius's aide Mark (Tommy Crawford), who has a way with words. Get the picture? It is always fun to see Najimy in action. Cathey gets a few laughs too, but most of the proceedings are leaden and lack bite. The play seemed far longer than its 85 minutes. Kate Foster's set makes a convincing meeting room for high government officials. Claudia Brown's costumes are amusing. The play was directed by Jim Simpson, The Flea's founder and artistic director.