The play’s premise: A man and his wife are inexplicably moved by the Spirit to relocate from Minnesota to Florida to pursue the husband’s dream of opening a chain of Jesus-themed motels. “WWJS” (Where Would Jesus Stay?) The husband had had a promise of a rather large investment from a Swedish businessman. He runs short of funds and seeks an investment from their neighbor.
The whole cast was well chosen. Ed Asner was a real hoot as the affable and likable “pest control man”. At one point, he relates his heart-wrenching experience having lost his friends and family during the holocaust. “I’m so sorry”, Kate Arrington’s character kept saying as he told his story. “Why?” he says in his slight German accent, “It’s not your fault”. Thus adding a strange bit of dark levity. Michael Shannon was perfect as the neighbor who had lost his fiancé in a car accident and was left scarred understandably both on the inside and out. He was left terribly scarred on the left side of his face making him someone who had become a lonely, angry recluse.
“I’m not asking you for a great deal, the husband pitches, “I’m just asking for 75…10 thousand…..?” (another bit of levity being such an odd way of throwing out some numbers).
Short story long: Don’t look for a happy ending here as everything unravels in their lives ending in tragedy which is understandable given the fact that the “Jesus Hotel Chain” project (and the marriage) were evidently on extremely thin ice right from the opening scene. This critic’s take? I found myself being drawn in by a disturbing, strangely exhilarating set of circumstances and excellent cast.
The sparse but effective set which served well as both apartments which were the only two locations for the play.
As he signed my Playbill I said “Thank you so much for a lovely performance.” “He looked up and smiled sincerely, “Thank you so much!” he said, his eyes and smile sweet as sugar!
Lovingly enchanted by the theater!! ~ D
P S: Paul Rudd, I Love You, Man (;^)