Hand to God
Hand to God
By Robert Askins
Directed by Kenny Howard
Starring Jerry J. Jobe, Jr. and Becky Fischer
Presented at the Dr. Phillips Center
Rough sex with underaged boys and Satanic hand puppets – this IS a fresh look at Lutheran Youth Discipleship programs in the 21st century. Margery (Fisher) lost her husband recently, leaving her and her shy son Jason (Jobe) adrift. They’ve taken up “Christian Puppetry” as an anchor, and her “Christ-ka-teers” need to put up some sort of performance next week. Pastor Greg (Jason Blackwater) is interested in Margery, but she’s not ready for a wishy-washy man like good ol’ Pastor Greg. Snotty and precocious Timothy (Andrew Romero) is more her speed and even if he is under age (not an obvious fact from the casting) he rings her bell. Young Jason really digs the puppets; his best friend and left hand puppet Tyrone gradually takes over his life, but innocent Jessica (Devan Seeman) helps with the exorcism. I didn’t even know Lutherans DID exorcisms, and I grew up in that sect.
If you have any love for the squeaky-clean religion so popular today, I advise running away and pulling out your hair. But if you’re more skeptical, this shows what MIGHT happen when religion goes bad. I felt most sorry for Pastor Greg; he’s a bear of a man (in a totally heteronormative sense of the word) and his pass at Margery might be the sincerest moment of the show. Only Fisher’s relation with the barely illegal Timothy shocks more; they take their sex to the point plumbing came off the walls. Fisher and Romero play the “B” couple in this not-quite-a-romance leaving Jason and Tyrone and sweet Jessica to work out the jagged “A” love triangle. Jobe’s sharp transitions from innocent to uber-evil and back again surprised, and he enjoyed his wilding moment more than he should. But I give points to Blackwater’s Pastor Greg; he achieved the right result without ever falling in the trap of the Saccharine Ministry. Ms. Fischer is frightening, Mr. Romero enjoys his ride too much, and Ms. Seeman artfully clings to a knowing sense of innocence. Tonight was brutal, scary and redemptive – almost like the hagiography of a saint slaughtered for just being different.
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