In the central character of Joseph, Hancock-Brainerd certainly sustains our interest, and Iacovelli as his brother keeps up with him. Petronio makes the uncle a formidable grouch, which helps us empathize with the brothers. As for Vin, the kid who caused the accident, the character is thinly drawn, casting about for significance in the overstuffed plot, but Gonsalves does quite well with what he is given, keeping us concerned about his fate.
The play is studded with little gems of astute observation. “Any time you try to put the truth on paper, you get a form of fiction,” Gloria says in an uncharacteristically lucid moment. Sometimes, as this play demonstrates, truth and fiction can fit hand in glove. Sons of the Prophet was a finalist last year for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama; playwright Karam also wrote Speech & Debate, which 2nd Story staged two years ago. And he contributed the book, music, and lyrics to the adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, which was performed here when he was studying at Brown University in 2000. At the time it was obvious that Karam was going places.