SAINT SEBASTIAN shows promise
I suspect we will hear a lot from Refracted Theatre Company in the future. They are savvy and energized, moving from New York to put down roots in Chicago. And while not everything about their premiere production of SAINT SEBASTIAN works, they will no doubt start building the essential audience and donor base they need to succeed.
SAINT SEBASTIAN is the story of Ben and Gideon, an ex-priest (Adam Thatcher) and his much younger lover (Mack Spotts). They have moved into a house they plan to flip in a historically Black neighborhood. Ben is doing the labor and is given enough lumber in Catalina Niño's interesting set to keep him in constant motion. On the other hand, Gideon, a social worker , never stops talking. Despite the fact the couple has been together for eight year, he is shocked to find he lives in a black neighborhood. When a young neighbor (Nolan Robinson) arrives to help out, the shows predictable action is set in motion.
Despite three very talented actors, the foundation of Andrew Kramer's play never seems steady or grounded in reality. I was often mystified. Why does the play start with the three men doing pushups together? Why is Gideon so afraid of an empty closet and the neighborhood stray dog? Why is he afraid of being outed, yet drives a car with an HRC bumper sticker and wears a distracting gold cross earring throughout the show?
Director Graham Miller keeps the action moving briskly, and the show is handsome. Other designers doing good work are Emily N. Brink (Costume Designer) and Levi Wilkins (Lighting Designer).
The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets are currently available at thedentheatre.com. Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
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