Sons of the Prophet Stephen Karam

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Sons of the Prophet  by  Stephen Karam

Sons of the Prophet by Stephen Karam
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From the NEW YORK TIMES: Joseph is a former running champ, so the inflammation in his knees naturally seems to be the fallout from a torn ligament. But something more “global” appears to be at work, and in any case he is distracted from his drearyMoreFrom the NEW YORK TIMES: Joseph is a former running champ, so the inflammation in his knees naturally seems to be the fallout from a torn ligament. But something more “global” appears to be at work, and in any case he is distracted from his dreary rounds of diagnosis-seeking when a more urgent tragedy befalls the family.

Joseph’s father, a former steelworker, was driving home from his new maintenance job when he swerved to avoid a deer and crashed his car, landing in the hospital. A week later he died of a heart attack.The deer, it turns out, was a stuffed decoy placed there by a high school student as a prank. This enrages Joseph’s older and ailing uncle, Bill (Yusef Bulos), who is even more disgusted when it is learned that the culprit is the star of the local football team, Vin (Jonathan Louis Dent), a town hero who is given a dispensation by a judge to serve his sentence in juvenile detention after the football season has concluded.

Joseph and his younger brother, Charles (Chris Perfetti) — who are both gay — are more sympathetic to Vin, an African-American boy who has grown up in a foster home, and whose chance at a professional career may be jeopardized.Gloria (Joanna Gleason), Joseph’s new boss and a book packaging expert, knows a little about career jeopardy herself. She was run out of the publishing business — and Manhattan — when she sold a memoir by a Holocaust survivor that turned out to be fictionalized.

(Gloria’s story and Vin’s are inspired by actual events.)Now she latches on to the discovery that Joseph’s family, of Lebanese extraction, is distantly related to Kahlil Gibran, author of the perennial best-selling spiritual book “The Prophet.” In her hilariously addled mind — complaining about her fall from grace, she defensively remarks, “I wasn’t at the Holocaust” — she decides that a memoir by Joseph about his family’s journey will be her ticket back to the big time.Mr.

Karam’s play, which runs a little less than two hours and is performed in one seamless act , may sound top-heavy with plot and character. (Did I mention that Gloria’s emotional frailty also stems from the suicide of her husband?) Some of the relationships would benefit from being fleshed out in greater detail: the integration of Gloria into the lives of Joseph and his family, for example. The play’s climax shoehorns all the elements of the story into a farcical scene that seems a little forced, funny though it is.But one of Mr.

Karam’s themes is the indiscriminate nature of misfortune — one calamity does not immunize you from the next, worse one — so the multiplication of disasters roiling the characters’ lives is to the point. And he writes with such precision that even the more peripheral characters emerge as sharply drawn, multifaceted individuals.



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