Review: Sons of the Prophet

Santino Fontana rides on wheels of misfortune in Stephen Karam's new comedy.

0

Comments

Add +
  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Sons of the Prophet

    Sons of the Prophet at Laura Pels Theatre

  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Sons of the Prophet

    Sons of the Prophet at Laura Pels Theatre

  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Sons of the Prophet

    Sons of the Prophet at Laura Pels Theatre

  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Sons of the Prophet

    Sons of the Prophet at Laura Pels Theatre

Photograph: Joan Marcus

Sons of the Prophet

Sons of the Prophet at Laura Pels Theatre

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

The guardian angel of the Lebanese-American Douaihy family of rural Pennsylvania is St. Rafka, whose defining traits are blindness and love of suffering. Her eyeless oversight of the household is manifest—at least symbolically—in the sea of troubles faced by its eldest son, Joseph (Fontana). Once a champion runner, he has been knocked off track by bodily malfunctions that his doctors can't explain; for insurance purposes, he works for Gloria (Gleason), a loony exile from Manhattan. When his father dies after swerving to avoid a decoy deer on the road, Joseph and his younger brother (Chris Perfetti) are orphaned—both are also gay and single—and their disabled uncle (Yusef Boulos) moves in.

This tide of woe makes mock of the assurance, scrawled at the base of Rafka's portrait, that "all is well"—an echo of a hymn by The Prophet poet Khalil Gibran, a distant relative and source of family pride. But without diminishing the reality of these challenges, Stephen Karam's fresh, evocatively detailed writing sustains a resiliently comic tone that takes each misfortune in stride even as it accelerates toward a quasi-farcical climax. Affirming his place among the city's essential young actors, Fontana holds center stage with charm and wary intelligence; under Peter DuBois's confident direction for the Roundabout, the secondary actors, whose characters don't get much chance to evolve, provide amusing foils for Joseph's progress. "Much of your pain is self-chosen," wrote Gibran. "Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding." Karam's affectionate character study prods us gently toward that end.

See more Theater reviews and follow Adam Feldman on Twitter

Laura Pels Theatre. By Stephen Karam. Dir. Peter DuBois. With Santino Fontana, Joanna Gleason. 1hr 45mins. One intermission. See complete event information

Users say

0 comments