The Chosen, Theatre J

There are 4 fantastic reasons to see The Chosen, Theater J's latest show in residence at Arena Stage. Those reasons are:

1 Ed Gero
2 Rick Foucheux
3 Joshua Morgan
4 Derek Kahn Thompson

The cast brought together by Aaron Posner, with Aaron Davidman rounding out the ensemble, is incredible. Getting to see Gero and Foucheux share the same space, moving in and around each other but never actually meeting, is a treat, and Morgan and Thompson do excellent work as their respective sons (Morgan in particular has crafted a telling physicality for the role, carrying himself with a stiff reserve of pent-up energy that simmers under the surface and only bubbles over on rare occasions). Mr P's staging in Arena's space is generally serves the story well- it's a nice touch to be in the Fichlander, whose dimensions mimic the baseball diamond that sets the story in action.

But then, there's the "story" issue. Mr P is here directing his own adaptation of Chaim Potok's novel, and aside from giving us the opportunity to see these actors play these parts, I was never actually convinced this play needed to exist. What do we gain by transplanting the novel onto the stage? Not a whole lot, I'm afraid. It's not that it's a BAD play- I was engaged throughout. I laughed at the jokes and held my breath in the tense moments. I'm left thinking, however, that this is due far more to the actors than to the play's own merits, and that's not exactly the best feeling to walk away with. I gotta go with conflicted capslock on this one- I'm just not sure how strongly I can recommend this one.

I think that if you can make it, you should see The Chosen, and you should see it with this cast. I wonder if it would be nearly as enjoyable an experience with any other ensemble (hint: I don't think so). If you miss it, well, that's probably okay, too. Doesn't that say enough?


Popular Posts