Jonathan Pitts-Wiley directs Stephen Adly Guirgis’ powerful drama, “Jesus Hopped the A Train,” with a powerful passion that makes for raw, gutsy theatre. It is the tale of two inmates, both in jail for murder, who are facing their past, present and future from different perspectives.
Angel (Rudy Cabrera) has come to the defense of his friend, who has been swayed by a cult minister by shooting the Rev. Kim in the buttocks. He never meant to kill him (“He has too much fat down there), but the man dies in surgery. Lucius (Edward Crus) is a serial killer who has found Jesus, repents, quotes scripture and is sure he will be saved. He spends his one hour a day in the yard trying to save Angel, who questions God’s existence.
“You killed eight people,” Angel shouts, convinced that his actions can’t be compared to a serial killer who deserves to die, while his actions leading to a man’s death were not his fault.
The two men engage in long discussions on a bare stage, marked with yellow police tape outlining their cells. They are watched over and harassed by a sadistic prison guard (Jason Quinn).
Angel’s court-appointed lawyer (Kate Ambrosini) begs off the case when Angel confesses to her, but then faces disbarment when she becomes emotionally involved.
The play is filled with analogies, biblical references, morality issues and the age-old questions revolving around faith, forgiveness and justice. At times repetitive, and at times a bit out of control, the play does raise many issues and will cause you to ponder the political religious and humane elements long after you leave the theatre.
Mixed Magic has devoted this season in their comfortable theatre to presenting plays that may make you feel a bit uncomfortable at times. Three excellent choices follow: “Othello,” “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” and “God of Carnage.”
“Jesus Hopped the A Train” plays through Oct. 13. Tickets are $25. Call 305-7333 for reservations or go online at www.mmtri.com.