From the Fringe: ‘Divine Will’

Fringe review: ‘Divine Will,’ The Lucky Artist Theater Company, Brooklyn, NY

By Elizabeth Maupin

As I’m writing, the performers in Divine Will are probably already on their way back to New York: The performance I saw last night at the Fringe was their last of only four.

So maybe it’s moot to say that Divine Will shows the theological struggles of some very young theater artists, whose exploration of the conflicts between faith, love, science and the church take a very black-and-white approach to what is, for many people, a more complex issue.

The story is about Ryan, a high-school senior who is being pushed by his Catholic-priest uncle to join the priesthood himself. Ryan is serious about his faith, but he’s also a student of science, and he’s having trouble reconciling the two – along with his attraction to Ivy, an appealing friend.

Divine Will also features three characters who seem to be Ryan’s imaginary friends, who dance between scenes with the big silk flags they use in color-guard shows. The dance numbers – apparently meant to illustrate Ryan’s thoughts and his desire to be a rock star (who knew?) – come off as mystifying, and they get in the way of the story.

Terra Vetter, who wrote this drama, apparently meant for Ryan to struggle between two opposing forces. But she has written the show’s two priests as such reprehensible people that there’s no battle here: If Ryan goes with the church, he’s nuts.

Ryan is a smart guy: “The religion we get is a long way from God sometimes,” he says. But I suspect that many people, religious or not, would argue that this conflict has a lot more gray areas than you see in Divine Will and that the entire Catholic Church, despite what you think of it, might be represented by figures a little more three-dimensional than these.

No remaining performances.

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