Only at the cabaret can psychopathic ranting furballs and sophomoric, lustful Klan members commune together to learn that “God is Jon Q. Fed up on the subject of Planet Earth”
This weekend the venue features “Sincerity Forever,” a twisted language play by Mac Wellman. Under the direction of Glynis Rigsby DRA ’01, the convoluted language of this play is highlighted effortlessly by the eloquent performers. The play is simple in setting but complex in subject matter and development, and the cast and director tackled the text with energy and expertise.
The entire play takes place in an old, abandoned Ford in a swamp just outside of the town of Hillsbottom. Townsfolk in Klan robes and mysterious speaking furballs meet in the moonlight at the car to discuss life, love, God and sincerity. As the plot develops, it becomes evident that some force, either the furballs themselves or the mystical appearance of Jesus H. Christ, is making strange things happen in Hillsbottom. Entire conversations are repeated out of the voices of different actors, tangled love affairs develop, and havoc is wreaked upon the quiet, ignorant community.
Judy and Molly, played by Sarah Elliot DRA ’02 and Jackson Gay DRA ’02, begin the play seated in the car, pontificating on the blessings of being ignorant and sincere. At first the two appear to be underplaying their parts, but the themes of their conversation are later picked up by other characters and become central to the play. Gay is particularly engaging as the spacy but pensive Molly, who joins her friend in the realization that they don’t know anything, and they don’t care because they suspect that no one else does either.
The are soon replaced in the car by Tom and Hank, played by Matt Humphreys DRA ’03 and David Muse DRA ’03, who are funny and disturbing as they speculate on the nature of God and the soul. Their theories are ridiculous, but Wellman’s language somehow slips its way into profundity. From this point on, the play descends into insanity as Jesus H. Christ, played powerfully by Tamilla Woodard DRA ’02, takes the stage and is soon followed by two living furballs who rant about each other and the desolate town in which they live. The diatribe of Lucia Brawley DRA ’02 against the denizens of Hillsbottom is particularly well-spoken and memorable.
It quickly becomes clear that lines of dialogue are what string the play together, as trains of thought and entire conversations are repeated. An unlikely romance springs up between Tom and Lloyd, played by Greg Felden DRA ’03, using exactly the same dialogue spoken by George and Judy only moments before. When all becomes too confusing and fights begin to break out, Christ appears and begins to explain it all away, banishing the meddling furballs and preparing to deliver her testament.
In the final scene of the play, Woodard as Christ delivers a stellar monologue in Wellman’s eloquently awkward dialect. She explains she came to raise hell on earth, and that she does not appreciate the way in which America has tried to interpret her words. She accuses the townsfolk of asking her for too much help, to let them out of their problems, to which she says “I can’t open the door — the handle is on your side.” This slow but energetic monologue is one of the most enjoyable parts of the performance, and serves as a fitting end to the chain of words that has made up Wellman’s one act play. Jesus H. Christ leaves the townsfolk “ignorant forever, in absolute sincerity.”
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