Jesus Hopped The A Train
Empty Spaces Theater
By Stephan Adly Guigis
Directed by John DiDonna
Starring Dennis Neal, Hector Sanchez Jr., Jeremy Wood, and Alexis Jackson
Streamed 9-26-2020 from Orlando, FL and other locations.
Angel Cruz (Sanchez Jr.) is a bad boy, he shot and killed a minister. Lucius Jenkins (Neal) is a bad man, he killed eight pizza delivery boys (that we know of). D’Amico (Lawrence Benjamin) is a bad cop, he smuggles contraband into the jail for the inmates. Mrs. Hanrahan (Jackson) is a bad lawyer, she committed perjury for Angel who subsequently went to jail for a very long time. She was disbarred but she hated her job so at least she’s OK. Our plot: Evil triumphs. That just leaves Correction Officer Hector (Jeremy Wood). Technically he’s the only good guy here, but he’s a total jerk so you like him even less than the bad guys. Talk about your anti-heroes.
Director DiDonna produced this show about nine years ago and it still raises the same questions and cuts us on the same rough edges as the original. No one seems terrible remorseful about their actions or results, they seem to take everyday tragedies, examine them and toss then over with a breezy “Oh Well.” Lucius jokes about the delivery boys he offed in Miami, Hanrahan offers a few words about Angel but then expresses her relief of not having to be a lawyer. Angel takes it about as well as he can, and what were his opportunities anyway? We seem to have here a nihilist play for this nihilist day.
Unlike many online plays, this plot seems to work better in this on-line format than any other shows I’ve “attended.” But there were audio breakdowns, and while doing a sales meeting with Zoomers scatters across the globe may be travel efficient, it’s not a path to high art, not yet anyway. Other murky questions arise for theater in general. The long standing paranoia that someone might (gasp!) FILM a production may fall first because, hey, the future. Regional production limits which happened naturally in the past are unlikely to stand, and if only one production event occurs but the result is visible for days, well that’s going to make the heads in the Dramatist’s Guild office spin. It’s a brave new world, filled with eternal problems. Solutions? Don’t look at me. I’m just the writer for an online blog.