Thursday, February 26, 2009

Notes on Trinity Rep's "The Secret Rapture"

We saw David Hare's The Secret Rapture at Trinity Rep Wednesday night. It is about a father's death and a family's splintering: it is also about the death of an idea, or an ideal, and our efforts to outgrow it or grow into it. The play works on its audience subtly, only gradually revealing the terms of its tragedy. What makes it so rich, I think, is that its rapture is a secret not only to its characters but also to us--and even, I suspect, to Hare himself: despite its building momentum and urgency, the play never feels prescribed. It does feel patiently observed, and it is out of the equivocations and epiphanies of the everyday that Hare builds his drama. There is silence there, too, which acts as mortar or magma, depending on the temperature of the scene. The show is, for the most part, honestly acted--the three female leads are terrific; only Fred Sullivan, Jr., as an evangelical entrepreneur, feels like shorthand--and it is directed with real conviction and sincerity by Trinity Rep Artistic Director Curt Columbus. If conviction and sincerity sound like measures of faith rather than tragedy, it's because the show is about conflicts of belief--in politics, in God, in decency--which is the secret we can't help sharing.

I'll have a review posted soon.

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