Johnson craftily rations out the script's few but sufficient surprises, as accomplished actors Marcia Edmundson (Fay) and Dana Marks (Rachel) probe deeply into a mother and daughter's estranged relationship--one where several issues involving borders have been left unresolved. Cheryl Chamblee gives admirable support. (Through April 2.)
***1/2 God's Man in Texas, Playmakers Rep--Yes, Baptist megachurches whose spiritual--and economic, and political--agendas extend well beyond their hermetical campuses are certainly worth extended scrutiny. But one gets the nagging feeling that playwright David Rambo should have learned a lot more after two years studying Texas-style fundamentalism than we see in this somewhat over-focused drama.
True, he examines the cult of personality on which they're based (with Philip Davidson's Dr. Gottschall as a firebrand in the pulpit, and an off-stage preacher's wife who apparently pulls a lot of the strings), while visiting preacher Jerry Mears (Kenneth Strong) almost completely deconstructs the salesmanship of high-volume salvation. And Sean Hannigan's heartfelt performance as Hugo, a good ol' boy of an audio technician, ultimately reveals a desperate believer--one with no fallback position in his faith.
But reducing such a vast and potentially troubling social phenomenon to a three-character ecclesiastical seduction of the innocent arguably leaves most of the believers--and the center of the real story--off stage. If Rambo rescues a couple of characters from the pride, envy, anger and greed of Big Religion, we're left to wonder--who's going to save the rest of the world? (Through March 26.)
E-mail Byron at firstname.lastname@example.org.