Competitive runner Joseph is suffering from several mysterious ailments, including knee pain which has sidelined, or perhaps terminated, his running career. His doctors put him through a series of tests, eliminating one thing after another. He and his teenage brother Charles (who was born with one ear) are left orphans when their father dies after a freak accident (their mother having died years earlier). Add in their ailing (and horribly racist) uncle who moves into the family home, Joe's needy and eccentric boss, a public controversy about the young man who caused the accident, and a possible romance with a reporter who's covering the family tragedy... well, to say Joe has his hands full is an understatement. None of these things are resolved by the end of the 100-minute-no-intermission play, which left me feeling a little unsatisfied. But that's not a bad thing. Theater isn't meant to provide all the answers, but rather to ask the questions in a compelling and intelligent way, which this play definitely does.
|Patty Mathews, Sasha Andreev, Maxwell Collyard,|
and Michael Tezla (photo by Petronella J. Ytsma)
|the ingenious set of Sons of the Prophet|
(photo by Petronella J. Ytsma)
As I've previously admitted on this blog, I am obsessed with all things Laura Ingalls Wilder, so I was thrilled when Joe and his potential romantic interest (did I mention both of the brothers are gay?) started discussing poor Mary Ingalls as an example of suffering (not only did she go blind, she was kicked by a horse requiring expensive emergency surgery, her baby died in a fire, and her blind husband regained his sight, leaving her feeling alone in the darkness - being in a frontier-set soap opera is tough!). Like the boys, Almanzo was my first crush too (and I still think Dean Butler is pretty dreamy). And like Joe, I'm also a runner (although never competitively) with bad knees who wears knee braces (although only while running). Needless to say Sons of the Prophet spoke to me on many levels.
I wasn't quite sure what to think about this play when it ended without giving me an answer to Joe's medical mystery, or resolving the accident controversy. But think about it I did, and do (and it also led me to do a bit of research on Gibran, St. Rafqa, Maronite Catholicism, and Lebanon, topics I know next to nothing about). This is a super short run (of which nearly half of the performances were previews), so get there fast before it closes next weekend so see this funny, poignant, thought-provoking, compelling play.