Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Sacred Hearts"

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note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Carl A. Rossi


"SACRED HEARTS"

by Colleen Curran
directed and designed by David J. Miller

Bridget … Eliza Lay
Tim … Greg Maraio
Evan … Curt Klump
Father Phil … Ed Peed
Gretchen … Melissa Baroni
Violet … Renee Miller

Colleen Curran’s SACRED HEARTS, receiving its New England premiere at the BCA, is a parable about how a simple, unexplainable miracle sets off complex reactions: in a rural Quebec town on the feast day of Our Lady Queen of the May, a statue of the Virgin Mary rotates towards Bridget, a troubled young woman who routinely prays before it in solitude. Bridget confides in Father Phil, the local priest, but the gossip Violet overhears them and things soon spiral out of control, local- and media-wise. Throughout it all, Bridget shrinks from what she believes is a reprimand from the Blessed Mother for giving birth out of wedlock and giving her child up for adoption --- in the end, she accepts the miracle as a sign of comfort and forgiveness. Some may find Bridget’s emotional odyssey to be a lengthy, even talky, one, whereas if Bridget accepted the miracle at once, there would obviously be no play, but more importantly is that layers of cynicism, hucksterism or too-easy faith must be stripped away from Ms. Curran's characters until all serenely accept something that defies analysis. Yes, SACRED HEARTS may run on longer than it should yet Ms. Curran stays true to her own vision: the miracle is simply what it is, and the statue remains intact instead of being destroyed by man’s fear, ignorance, greed or disillusionment --- the gentle finale may even bring a lump to your throat and in a Zeitgeist production, of all places.

David J. Miller is evolving into a detailed, sensitive director and continues to be blessed with ensembles composed of sturdy regulars and welcome newcomers. Eliza Lay’s Bridget walks a believable tightrope between rejecting the very event that will bring her peace and her humbled embracing of it, with well-timed sparring, along the way, with Greg Maraio as her brother Tim and Curt Klump as her married suitor Evan --- the near-love scene between Ms. Lay and Mr. Klump is all the sexier for its unexpectedness. Ed Peed tends to quiver with indignation, elsewhere, but his earth-father in Zeitgeist’s TOOTH & CLAW and now his Father Phil were/are wry, glowing creations without dissolving into androgyny. Renee Miller, a handsome graven eagle, now becomes an endearing biddy-hen as Violet and Melissa Baroni is simply amazing as Gretchen the local journalist whose well-meaning klutziness turns her into a hilarious cartoon that miraculously keeps its human dimensions. If you’ve never encountered the Zeitgeist before, here is your introduction: a heartfelt comedy-drama, served up by a golden cast. For once, the company’s cutting edge is softened, with no casualties.

"Sacred Hearts" (26 January - 17 February)
ZEITGEIST STAGE COMPANY
Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 933-8600

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England’s LIVE Theater Guide

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