100 Saints You Should Know at The Rhino is absorbing
Left to Right: Michael Rosen as Garrett, Tamar Cohn as Colleen, Wylie Herm as Matthew and Ann Lawler as Theresa in 100 Saints You Should Know by Kate Fodor; a Theatre Rhinoceros Production; Directed by John Fisher at the Thick House Theatre. Phot by Kent Taylor
100 SAINTS YOU SHOULD KNOW: Comedy-Drama by Kate Fodor. Directed by John Fisher. Theatre Rhinoceros, at the Thick House, 1695 18th Street @Arkansas, San Francisco, CA. (800)838-3006 or www.therhino.org. May 31 –June 17, 2012
EXTENDED THROUGH JULY 1
An absorbing 100 Saints You Should Know by Theatre Rhino
There have been many stories about pedophile priests but there seems to be little concerning non-pedophile homosexual priests. Kate Fodor, a multiple honoree playwright, attempts to fill that void in her play 100 Saints You Should Know that is receiving a creditable if not fully satisfying production by Theatre Rhino at the Thick House on 18th Street.
The major character is Matthew (Wylie Herman) a young Catholic priest who is placed on “temporary” leave from his religious duties after photos of nude males were found in his room. Later in the play he decries, “I’m celibate not gay.” Fodor expands her exploration of latent homosexuality by creating Garrett (Michael Rosen) a nerdy teenager with ambivalent feelings about his sexual proclivities expressing his confusion as he blurts out “I don’t want to be as gay as a big fruit salad.”
Whereas one of Matthew’s problems is loss of faith, Theresa (Ann Lawler) a former Hippie who works part time as a cleaning person in Matthew’s rectory is searching for religious faith. She has an illegitimate daughter Abbey (Kim Stephenson) conceived at age 16 and brought up in communes. Although Matthew and Theresa have only met very briefly, she is deeply impressed by the sincerity of his sermons. Theresa’s desire to become a believer is equal to her desire to be a good mother to the rebellious Abbey.
Matthew goes home to his passive aggressive mother Colleen (Tamar Cohn) who is appalled at his loss of faith refusing to believe it is possible. There is a touching scene involving a game of Scrabble where the words “sole” and “soul” lead to a volatile ending of the game. While he is staying with his mother he meets grocery delivery boy Garrett who shies away from Matthew because his father has ordered him to do so. Without a word of “why” the implications are obvious but Garrett, like Theresa, is seeking guidance and later returns.
Theresa traces Matthew’s whereabouts and comes to his home ostensibly to return a book. All does not go smoothly as Colleen accuses Theresa as the cause of Matthew’s turning away from God. Abby who has come along for the ride with her mother meets Garrett outside the house and manipulates him into getting drunk. For inexplicable reasons Garrett climbs a tree, falls out sustaining serious head injury. End of act one.
The goodly portion of the final act takes place in the hospital and character’s problems are explored rather extensively. Abby gets her chance to confront her spiritual anxieties questioning Mathew about evil and redemption. The death of Garrett is cataclysmic to all and Fodor mines the guilt of each to tack on a semi-denouement.
By attending this production you will be treated to a well directed and acted production that will stimulate your thinking process regarding religion’s relationship to homosexuality. Author Kate Fodor attempts to be neutral in the controversy and the play ends without a conclusion. Not having a definitive conclusion is appropriate because that is the way it is in real life. After saying that, the Catholic Church and blind faith in dogma take somewhat of a beating.
Running time under two hours including an intermission. After each performance the audience is invited to stay for a talk back with cast and crew.
Kedar K. Adour, MD
Courtesy of www.theatreworldinternetmagazine.com