Wednesday, June 25, 2014

the last confession

Those of you who know me know I love the theater.  Specifically, good theater.  From musical theater to drama to anything in-between I'm a sucker for it all.  This past week I matched my NYC record and went three times in five days!!!  It wasn't exactly planned that way, but when it rains, it pours, right?!   On Tuesday I saw Mystere at Treasure Island (great acrobatics but anything Cirque sets me on edge, and parts of this show were downright creepy), Friday was a youth theater version of Fiddler on the Roof (the student playing Tevye was amazing...everyone else not so much), and finally on Saturday I drove to LA to see David Suchet in The Last Confession.  I honestly wasn't sure what to expect and went because 1) here was a possible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Mr. Suchet live and in person and 2) I got a great deal on the tickets. The subject matter was secondary to me, but I'm happy to report everything about this play was pure excellence.  The acting hit the right tone, and great as the RSC's Suchet is, he never overshadowed the other actors. It was a true ensemble cast in every sense of the word.

The Last Confession is a play about the reign of Pope John Paul I, who died under suspicious circumstances in 1978, only 33 days after taking the Vatican’s top job. A determined liberal reformist – similar to the current Pope – he intended to replace some of his most powerful conservative cardinals. The death was not officially investigated but one insider who helped install the short-lived pope, Cardinal Giovanni Benelli (played by Suchet), doggedly tried to uncover the truth.
- Sydney Morning Herald Entertainment
The Last Confession was written by lawyer turned first time playwright Robert Crane (see here for more info) and did what any great piece of theater should do: it made me think.  Not in a let's-bash-the-church or put-down-Catholics sort of way, but rather, it took an honest look at how the desire for power can corrupt even the very best of our intentions.  Although labeled a conspiracy thriller, TLC struck me more as an examination of human nature and how some cling to power at any price.  Like John Patrick Shanely's, Doubt, audience members are left with questioning what really happened...was the pope murdered or did he die of natural causes...and like any good researcher, I intend to give it my best Boy Scout effort and find out!  

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