NY1 Theater Review: "Sons Of The Prophet"
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Stephen Karam has not only written a delightfully quirky play, he somehow made it seem easy. That's saying quite a lot for a show that's crammed with so many disparate threads. Complex and funny; moving and wise, "Sons of the Prophet" is a refreshingly honest story about that rare thing in the theatre - a functional family.
They're functioning but racked by disabilities and heartache. The Lebanese-American Douaihys are distantly related to the famed poet/philosopher Kahlil Gibran whose book "The Prophet" is a source of great pride for the family. But Gibran's inspirational words do little to ease the pain of Joseph's chronic ailments and the loss of his father, killed in a car accident. Joseph and his brother Charles, both gay, care for an uncle suffering from a debilitating illness. Living in central Pennsylvania, this odd trio is committed to taking care of each other. Joseph works for a nutty book publisher with addiction and mental problems. And Bill is crotchety and bigoted.
Under Peter DuBois' canny direction, the play, divided into broadly titled chapters such as "On Work, On Pain" etc is a kaleidoscopic look at a family seeking harmony amid life's dissonant strains. Loneliness, identity, friendship and passion evoked by a stellar company of actors.
Chris Perfetti and Yusef Bulos find marvelous subtleties in Charles and Bill. Joanna Gleason's Gloria is divinely neurotic and Santino Fontana once again displays tremendous versatility. Endowed with dramatic chops and a funny bone to match, he proves himself among our finest young actors.
Many of the threads in this play are left dangling, but no matter. Playwright Karam has a tremendous gift for listening to his characters and letting them take him and us to the most unexpectedly intriguing places.