Jeff Smith 12:01 p.m., March 29
Terrence McNally overlaps the story of Jesus with the rise and fall of Joshua, a gay man from McNally's home town (named for "the body of Christ"). When it opened in 1998, the drama raised as much of a ruckus as Jesus Christ Superstar in 1970. The ruckus aside, Corpus Christi's a kind of gay Godspell without music, a story theater version of the traditional tale bilocated in late-1950s Texas. The play moves from scattered eagerness to ultimate seriousness (as Joshua suffers horrific persecution), which explains why the Diversionary Theatre cast begins with such broad, chipper smiles and relentless bear hugs and why they take no curtain call. Dressed in khakis and white shirts and performing barefoot, the group grows into a tight ensemble. Standouts are Trevor Bowles's Joshua, sincere without being sanctimonious (no mean feat), Rich Carillo's coke-snorting Judas, and Rachael Van Wormer's sharp efforts in several roles. The original cast was all male. Director Nick Arnzen got the playwright's permission to include women, which expands the theme of persecution exponentially. In a note, the director draws parallels between the play and Matthew Shepard, a gay man murdered crucifixion-style in Laramie, Wyoming. Shepard died the day before Corpus Christi opened.
Worth a try.
When: Ongoing until Sunday, June 1, 2008
- Sundays, 2pm & 7pm
- Thursdays, 7:30pm
- Fridays, 8pm
- Saturdays, 8pm