Jesus Hopped the A Train at barebones productions | Program Notes

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jesus Hopped the A Train at barebones productions

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 11:00 AM

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This prison drama marks the debut local production of any work by acclaimed New York playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis; it's actually a fairly early play (from 2000) from the man who wrote the 2011 Broadway hit The Motherfucker with the Hat, starring Chris Rock.

Jesus is in its final week at the New Hazlett Theater, and there's no point retreading the same ground as the positive reviews the show's gotten, including Ted Hoover's for CP.

I'll just note that while there's much to admire about this Derrick Sanders-directed production, it's worth seeing for Guirgis' amazing dialogue alone.

And I don't mean just the fiery exchanges between prisoner and attorney, prisoner and brutal guard, or even the two prisoners at the heart of the play, Angel and Lucius.

Rather, I'd single out one brief, quiet slice of dialogue as evidence of the poetry Guirgis can conjure. It's part of scene where Angel and Lucius meet. Lucius (played by Edwin Lee Gibson, pictured) is a hardened killer who's found God, while Angel (Raúl Castillo) is innocent and despondent, new to prison, awaiting trial.

The two men are in adjacent cells, getting their one hour a day of fresh air. There's a pause in their talk, then Angel says, "... I can't, I can't sleep. I can't in there, do you sleep?"

LUCIUS. I sleep.

ANGEL You breathe an shit?

LUCIUS. Mostly.

Jesus Hopped the A Train continues through Sun., Jan. 29, with four more shows starting tonight at the Hazlett, on the North side.

More info is at



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