"A Case for the Existence of God" - by Samuel D. Hunter - SpeakEasy Stage Company (Boston, MA.) - REVIEW

(Cover Photo: Jesse Hinson as "Ryan" and De'Lon Grant as "Keith" in a scene from the Samuel D. Hunter play "A CASE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD" now playing at SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston, MA. until February 17, 2024 . Photo credit Nile Scott Studios)




By Kevin T. Baldwin

METRMAG Reviewer

# 774-242-6724 

 
“We have to believe that it won’t happen. We have to believe that, like, things still make sense. Things still make sense. (Pause.) Things still make sense, things –…” 

                                                                                                 - ("Ryan") / Samuel D. Hunter

SpeakEasy Stage Company

Presents Samuel D. Hunter's 

"A CASE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD"


Written by Samuel D. Hunter

Directed by Melinda Lopez

Cast Includes: Jesse Hinson* and De'Lon Grant*

Additional Creative Team:

Production Stage Manager - Deirdre Benson*; Lighting Designer - Elmer Martinez; Lead Electrician – John Holmes; Sound Board Op/Run Crew - Maria Papadopoulos; Assistant Stage Manager - Jolie Frazer-Madge; Costume Designer - Karen Gilmer; Wardrobe Supervisor - Rebecca Glick; Audio Describer - Cori Couture; Assistant Director - Vincent Douglass; Set Designer - Cristina Todesco**; Sound Designer - Aubrey Dube; Props Designer - Emme Shaw; Audio Describer - Andrea Doane; Intimacy Choreography - Ted Hewlett° 

* Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States 

** Represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 of the IATSE

° Stage Directors and Choreographers Society  

‡ Represented by the American Federation of Musicians local 9-535. 

Performances:

January 26, 2024 through February 17, 2024 

(Contact Box Office for Exact Times)  

Calderwood / BCA, 527 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02116 

TICKETS:

Contact the Box Office # 617-933-8600 or visit  www.speakeasystage.com 

COVID 19 PROTOCOLS

Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.

"A CASE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD" is the latest offering from SpeakEasy Stage Company and is a fabulous "two-hander" which absolutely should not be missed.

The play, written by Samuel D. Hunter, stars Jesse Hinson and De'Lon Grant who appear on stage together for almost a full 90 minutes with very little physical movement but with an abundance of moving moments.

While seemingly coming from different worlds, the bond established by the actors as two Idahoans is equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking. 

(Photo: Jesse Hinson as "Ryan" and De'Lon Grant as "Keith" in a scene from the Samuel D. Hunter play "A CASE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD" now playing at SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston, MA. until February 17, 2024 . Photo credit Nile Scott Studios)

The story starts of simple enough as Twin Falls blue collar worker, Ryan (Jesse Hinson), is trying to purchase a property near and dear to his heart. 

He has come to mortgage broker, Keith (De'Lon Grant), to help him secure a loan. Keith is meticulously organized, as reflected in his office cubicle.

Keith is not quite sure what to make of Ryan at first. However, it soon becomes apparent to Keith that Ryan is having a serious rough patch in his life and he chooses to try an help him out.

Ryan is going through a divorce and is hoping to secure the property so he will have a nice home for his young daughter when she stays with him. 

His daughter attends the same local daycare as Keith's little foster child. Keith is also struggling as he is attempting to fully adopt the child as his own and running into many bureaucratic obstacles.

(Photo: Jesse Hinson as "Ryan" in a scene from the Samuel D. Hunter play "A CASE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD" now playing at SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston, MA. until February 17, 2024 . Photo credit Nile Scott Studios)

As the men begin to share all this information, they begin to lean more and more into one another for emotional support. 

Under the seemingly intuitive direction of Melinda Lopez, amid many plot twists and turns and multiple surprising revelations, we also begin to feel the level of desperation each man is experiencing.

The most impressive thing about Hunter's script is its structure. The strength is inherent in the dialogue, not the actions. 

From the outset and nearly until the very end of the story, neither actor stands nor walks around the set, which only consists of a single, partitioned office cubicle. 

They sit on two chairs and most of their exchanges are performed solely through eye contact.

(Photo: Jesse Hinson as "Ryan" and De'Lon Grant as "Keith" in a scene from the Samuel D. Hunter play "A CASE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD" now playing at SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston, MA. until February 17, 2024 . Photo credit Nile Scott Studios)

Both actors, Hinson and Grant, are fully engaging, invested in conveying the lives and struggles of each character and, while each man's reach may exceed his grasp, Ryan and Keith do so for the unconditional love they feel for their respective children.

Not only do we get a sense of the depth of their respective plights from Hunter's text, we also can see it literally in the eyes of Hinson and Grant. The tremendous level of commitment by the actors to each of their characters is simply off the charts. 

Just to be clear - this is not an hour and a half of depressing gloom and despair - there are a lot of lighter moments and hilarious exchanges that take place, as well.

Also, try not to ponder too much on the play's title. It's like trying to find the title track on an album for which there is no actual song with that title. 

Yet, on a higher level, if paying close attention, one could ponder how the title "A CASE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD" relates - but it is recommended that such discussions be saved for AFTER you have seen the show. 

(Photo: De'Lon Grant as "Keith" in a scene from the Samuel D. Hunter play "A CASE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD" now playing at SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston, MA. until February 17, 2024 . Photo credit Nile Scott Studios)

Another area which must be applauded is how Hunter explores the friendship/relationship/kinship of these two men, one who happens to be gay and the other who is not. 

In a lesser writer's fingertips, to have these two characters evolve into more of a romance would seriously change the trajectory and diminish the impact of what we witness, especially by the story's concluding moments (which should certainly bring a tear or two).

Yet, even with the peaks and valleys, and some deeply traumatic moments, the bond Ryan and Keith share is truly the play's greatest joy.

"A CASE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD" from SpeakEasy Stage Company at the BCA continues until February 17th and, without a doubt, this is one of the best plays staged so far this year.

Coming up next at SpeakEasy is "COST OF LIVING" by Martyna Majok beginning March 8, 2024. For tickets and further information, contact the Box Office at # 617-933-8600 or visit www.speakeasystage.com.

Approximately one hour, 20 minutes with no intermission

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) 

@MetrmagReviews

@Theatre_Critics


ABOUT THE SHOW

Winner!  Best Play – New York Drama Critics Circle Award!  

Inside a cubicle in a bank in Twin Falls, Idaho, Keith, a mortgage broker, and Ryan, a yogurt plant worker, unexpectedly choose to bring one another into their fragile worlds.  

Ryan, who is white and divorced, wants to buy a plot of land that his family used to own in the hopes of making a better life for his daughter.  

Keith, who is Black, gay, and also single, is looking to adopt his foster daughter Willa before her relatives can steal her away. 

With humor, empathy, and wrenching honesty, playwright Samuel D. Hunter commingles these two lives in a story that is both small and big at the same time.  . 

ABOUT SPEAKEASY STAGE COMPANY

SpeakEasy Stage Company is a non-profit theatre company located in the South End of Boston and is led by award-winning Producing Artistic Director Paul Daigneault. SpeakEasy was named the Pavilion Resident Theater for the Boston Center for the Arts in 2007 and produces 28 weeks of new plays and musicals each season at the Nancy and Ed Roberts Studio Theater in the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts.

speakeasystage.com