This Week in Theater
Written by Steve Julian
Review by Rose Desena
“Oh Those Catholic Boys”
“Silence No One” is the motto for this interesting, original production that explores the evils of the Catholic Church, the art of confession, and the detriments of silence. The writer Steve Julian turns his negative exposure to parochial education and the rules and demands of the Church into an intriguing story about silence and the suffering it causes.
Father Bart (Robert Keasler) is a priest who struggles daily with the fact he is gay. He has a mentor relationship with a teenage boy, Aaron, who is being raised by his aunt. Everything seems ok until the new Bishop (Steve Julian) shows up.
At first, he seems like one would expect a Bishop to be, but as the play continues he is more like Lucifer the Devil, whose purpose is to torment those around him as he drives them to face their demons. He has a little history with one of the characters, Rachael, (Katherine McGhee) who is supposed to be Aaron’s aunt; however, for some reason, hints dropped that she might be his mother, but that is never clarified.
Of course, there is a bit of a shocking story here. Aaron is an altar boy who is in a serious sexual identity crisis. He is torn between the rules of the Church and his own secret desires, while getting pressure from his girlfriend Lisa, who isn’t in the best mental state herself.
As a matter of fact, other than Rachael, they are all pretty screwed up. Deep down, secrets come to a head as the Bishop/Devil forces the issues that are embedded in their souls, supposedly freeing them and allowing for forgiveness. The story is simple, four victims of the institution whom are intertwined in each other’s lives, and all seem to suffer from secrets. Of course, some suffer more and for some, there is only one way out.
This is a pretty decent production with excellent acting. The script has some good twists, and it kept me interested. Nevertheless, it was predictable, and I didn’t feel like things were resolved in the end but is true in real life too. In addition, the evils committed by priests, whether done to girls or boys, it’s nothing we haven’t heard already.
I am surprised no one does plays about mean Nuns. I went to Catholic School, and they were just as abusive, maybe not sexually, but certainly on an emotional level. Gay priests are not the pressing issue for the Catholic Church; it’s far more complicated. I agree no one should have to hide. It’s shameful.
However, there was an educational message: the Catholic Church, like a lot of organized religions, survives on suppression and fear. There is just no place for that in modern society.
I think the audience is limited. If you have suffered the wrath of a Catholic institution this might be for you. The run time is a little longer than 100 minutes without an intermission and no you cannot raise your hand and ask to go into the bathroom (Sister Mary Margaret would probably say no, anyway.) so get there a bit early and leave time to use the john.
Check out Steve’s web page for Silence No One, http://silencenoone.org/
Written by: Steve Julian
Directed by Aaron Lyons
Cast: Brett Donaldson, Emily Faris, Steve Julian, Robert Keasler, Katherine McGhee.
Lillian Theater, 1076 Lillian Way, Hollywood CA, 90038
www.whatkindofgodtheplay.com/ 323 960- 7787