Written by Stephen Karam, Sons of the Prophet focuses on the pain and comical moments that are the result of suffering. Joseph Douaihy and his 18 year old brother Charles are members of a Lebanese family who live in rural Pennsylvania. Joseph is suffering from some unexplained health issues when his father is involved in a car accident that he later dies from. That accident, caused by a prank a high school student pulled, is the latest tragedy to come to the Douaihy family, as their mother has also passed away and their uncle Bill isn't doing so good either.
|Santino Fontana and Joanna Gleason|
Joseph works for Gloria, a book editor who also has tragic issues of her own to deal with. He works for her mainly for the insurance that comes with the job, even though the coverage doesn't seem to help in providing any answers to his medical questions. Added to the mix is the high school student who caused the accident, who has been moved from one foster home to another but since he is a star football player the school board has postponed his punishment for the prank until after football season. There is also the young reporter who was a former rival of Joseph's cross country team from another high school who is trying to get close to the family to get their reaction to the events of the tragedy in order to prove himself as a journalist. And then there is the fact that the Douaihy family are distant relatives to Kahlil Gibran, the best selling author of The Prophet which Gloria thinks that connection will make a best selling book.
This is a play about coping when answers are hard to come by and accurately shows the humor and comic moments that are prevalent even in tragic times. Sons of the Prophet also features some of the most realistic dialogue and moments of any contemporary play I can remember.
|Jonathan Louis Dent, Chris Perfetti, |
Santino Fontana and Yusef Bulos
|Santino Fontana and Charles Socarides|
Jonathan Louis Dent is the football player who pulled the prank and he nicely plays the part of the outsider who knows he did something wrong but learns from his mistake. Charles Socarides is the reporter who has issues of his own and Socarides has the appropriate mix of pushiness and empathy to make the character more than just a caricature. Lizbeth Mackay and Dee Nelson play several supporting characters with several moments of humor.
The set design by Anna Louizos captures various settings including a perfectly represented living room and bedroom for Joseph and Charles' house. DuBois makes effective use of the small stage in his direction, which swiftly moves from one locale to the next. But he also doesn't let the heavy moments of the show weigh it down too much, which is as much a result of the direction as well as the writing by Karam.
Sons of the Prophet is a play that doesn't answer all of the questions that it poses, but that is just like life so I appreciated that it didn't attempt to tie everything up at the end. Karam is a young playwright who also wrote the well received play Speech & Debate that played New York a few years back. So he has many years and plays ahead of him, but he is off to an extremely impressive start.
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