Gift Theatre’s “Body + Blood” Review – Faith Story Circa 2015

Nicholas Harazin as Dan in the world premiere of William Nedved’s Body + Blood at The Gift Theatre. Photo ©Claire Demos

Like the landscape that almost stalks you in Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome, faith is a force akin to a lead character in Gift Theatre’s new thought-provoking work, “Body + Blood”.  It’s faith whom all the other characters bend to, one way or another. 

 

 

At first blush it’s not about any-old faith-- or as one character puts it, “You never hear about lapsed Methodists”—but simply about American Catholicism, probably of pre-Pope Francis progressive slant, with its ample supply of homophobia and pedophile warts.

 

 

Take a step back and ponder “Body + Blood” a bit more deeply though, and it is a moving tale of one person’s quest for meaning in life via an avenue paved with this thing called faith—so real to many, so elusive to others—and not necessarily Catholic per se.  From ridiculed to revered, faith is at “Body + Blood”s center. 

 


 

This is a thoughtful new script from Gift Theatre’s William Neved, directed with great sensitivity by Gift’s Marti Lyons and acted so well that by the performance’s end you feel as if you’ve always known the family pivoting round faith at the story’s center.   

 

 

You fully feel their pain.  (Cyd Blakewell as Leah; Gabriel Franken as Father Alex; Nicholas Harazin as Dan; Lynda Newton as Monica; Stephen Spencer as Mick.) 

 

 

Neved prods you to think anew about those who claim to have received signs from God.   Does Dan (Nicholas Harazin), a fragile and flawed man who has a long history of flaking from job to job and not settling down, have a true vocation as a priest, or even a right to be taken seriously?  What about all those around him who are to one degree or another undone by his actions?  Is his spirituality just another way to make it all about him?

 

To tell you how the tale unfolds would be an inherent spoiler.  This is a story that thoroughly engages and leaves you involved in the characters’ issues, even if these topics have not especially grabbed you before you walked in the theater’s doors. In short, this is excellent theater.

 

Now through August 9.

 

Gift Theater

4802 North Milwaukee

 

For tickets or information visit the Gift Theatre website or call 773-283-7071.

 

 

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