Hand to God is a dark comedy about a puppet projecting the much darker side of its wearer and wreaks havoc on all around him.
Playwright Robert Askins and director Moritz von Stuelpnagel debut on the Broadway, to a totally non expectant audience, the new play Hand to God which opened on Broadway at the Booth Theater (222 West 45th Street).
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The setup for the play is set in the basement of a church in the suburban Texas. The set done by scenic designer Beowulf Boritt features the basement walls filled with posters of loving Jesus. Steven Boyer acts as Jason/Tyrone who is a participant of his mother Margery (Geneva Carr) who is preparing for a puppet show for church.
Jason tries to keep quite and unnoticeable while the other two participants are Timothy, who is a disfigured boy whose mother is at a rehab meeting. Jessica played by Sarah Stiles, who is the girl next door is bold and straightforward.
Margery and Jason are going through a troublesome time because of her husband leaving them. Their mental trauma is subjected by their lack of control over their impulses they display.
Soon Jason’s control loses over Tyrone’s outburst of all his inner feelings and impulses. Tyrone, all the time on Jason’s hand talks most brutishly and passing boisterous insinuations at everyone and mostly at Jessica. The performance is brilliant where Boyer manages to act as the quite, shy controlling Jason and at the same time voices the violent and dark Tyrone.
His lips are moving to give voice to Tyrone’s comments which are infact is his own unexpressed id. Tyrone affects everyone around him including Jessica who Tyrone advances at sexually and Mr. Kudisch, the handsome plaintive pasture who is demonized by his own impulses.
At the end of it, it is each and everyone of them with their own demons. There is nothing supernatural that can be exorcised as suggested. It is their own darker sides and the manifestation of the most disturbed mind of Jason in the form of Tyrone expresses the destruction that could be faced once such impulses are expressed.
The play has actually come to a season full of musicals and British drama revivals. It is a fresh and a new take on theatre which has even managed to scare the audience into leaving the theater without being a horror play.
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The audience are sickened by its gruesome comedy that forces each person to glance into their own personality and leave a person with a feeling of enlightenment and discomfort at the same time.