Happy, happier, happiest

By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 31, 2013

 0802_theater_kindness_top.jpg
REAL CONFLICT Dent and McClarin in 'Kindness.'

 

The Gospel of Loving Kindness

The good news of the title of TheGospel of Loving Kindness, written by Marcus Gardley and directed by Kym Moore, isn’t declared by the animated black preacher of this family — Isaac (Curtis McClarin), known as Bruh Preach — but by his son, Israel (Jonathan Dent), called Real. The reality check is that he’s gay and stayin’ that way, despite his father’s Bible-waving fulminations about Satanic influences. This father is convinced that his wildly gesticulated concerns are being piped down directly from The Father, so disagreement is downright blasphemous.

At age 16, Real discovered his beautiful choir-singing voice — a gift from God, his father insists, but actually the result of being kissed by an Angel (Jude Sandy), an beatific young man in a park, Real is convinced. When he suddenly turns up three years later, his flint-willed mother (Lizan Mitchell) supports Real being himself, so he may turn out OK despite his street life.

The play is strikingly well-performed, with three of the four roles played by Equity actors. Sandy even gets to let other facets sparkle as he plays a cold drug dealer and a bubbly transvestite nightclub owner. Playwright Gardley, who based some of this on his Southside Chicago experiences, has written well-rounded, convincing characters, and he even gets the chance to wax poetical through the spirited preacher.
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