Review: 'Anger Box' provokes thought, feeling
The monologues of "Anger Box" address quesions of God and spirituality.pn
By Kathleen Allen
© 2003 Arizona Daily Star
It's easy to see why some might call Jeff Goode " anti-Christ."
It's a conclusion that can understandably be drawn from the playwright's latest work, "Anger Box," which Green Thursday Theatre Project opened Saturday.
Green Thursday Theatre Project's production of Jeff Goode's "Anger Box" is 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and Nov. 12, 13 and 15 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., Downtown.
Tickets are $15. Call 792-6590 for reservations and more information.
The play is a series of monologues that wrestle with the existence of God, examine the justification of hate in the name of God, mock the concept of a kind and loving God and talk about the futility of religion. And it does it all with some ruthless humor.
Green Thursday's production, directed by Arizona Theatre Company's associate artistic director, Samantha K. Wyer, is a sharply focused, finely acted 95 minutes. It is also infuriating, provocative and evangelical in its approach to doubts about a God.
The play opens with a monologue called "Anger Box." This is less about God and more about rationalizing hate in the name of the American Way. It's loosely based on the shooting of a Sikh gas station owner after 9/11, and it's full of shocking bigotry, sexism and life-threatening hate. It's impossible to listen to it, especially as succinctly and sincerely delivered by Brendan G. Murphy, and not be afraid. We all know of someone like this - the kind of person who walks around with a flag in one hand and a gun in the other.
The remaining nine monologues tackle the God question. There's the woman who is sleeping with Satan because of the power it gives her, and another who is dressed as a cheery clown and blows up balloons while she offers her proof that God does not exist.
Nike, the Goddess of Victory, smokes a cigarette and sips a drink while she grouses that Jesus has tapped into a gig that makes him bigger than she.
"This Jesus kid plays a good game," the bitter, once-biggest-of-the-big goddess sneered. "He's riding pretty high right now with his eternal life thing. Brilliant. He gives them eternal life. Just brilliant. But nothing lasts forever. Trust me on that one."
David Morden, dressed in a blond wig, a flowing white toga-esqe gown, and very, very high heels, was a stitch, and yet a little scary, as Nike.
There's also a monologue about a virgin who is saving herself for the pope she plans to have his child. And one about a homeless man who at first tries to explain that God is constantly testing our faith, which is why some people die, and others are injured if you die, you don't need to be tested anymore live with injuries, and that's God's test for you. But eventually he has begun to wonder how a loving God could do cruel things.
The monologues are delivered with punch and passion, and Goode has a tight hold on dark humor and a more-than-passing interest in the Deep Questions about spirituality.