Stephen Karam’s “Deeply Personal” Sons of the Prophet at Theater J
The Pulitzer Prize-nominated play makes its DC debut this Fall
“The entire cast trusts their script and their characters,” mused playwright Stephen Karam as he sat in the rehearsal room at the Washington DC JCC, taking in Theater J’s production of his 2012 Pulitzer Prize-nominated work. “After the first scene, I didn’t think the acting could stay at that level—with a cast of eight, who knows? But it did. Every character did.”
Karam isn’t unlike the characters he wrote into this “explosively funny” (New York Times) tragio-comedic play. He grew up in Pennsylvania (in Scranton, close to Lebanon where the play is set), he worked in publishing (much like leading character Joseph), plus he’s gay, was raised a Maronite Christian, and is half Lebanese (much like the two sons in Sons of the Prophet). In fact, all of Karam’s plays “are deeply personal. But none of them are autobiographical.” His newest play, The Humans, is making its Broadway premiere in early 2016.
When asked what Sons of the Prophet is about, Karam explained, it’s “a comedy about a guy coping with chronic pain. More generally (and amusingly), you could call it a comedy about human suffering.” Though seemingly paradoxical, the description is apt: How do we cope when everything is going wrong? How do we persevere when our bodies betray us? Why is laughter sometimes the most appropriate response to the absurdity of life? In poignant, deeply affecting and quite simply hilarious fashion, director Gregg Henry’s production will show us how. Sons of the Prophet features actors Brigid Cleary, Chris Dinolfo, Sam Ludwig and Michael Willis amongst others.