Chicago Theatre Review
Rough and Gritty Relationships start off Profiles Theatre’s season with “In God’s Hat”
In God’s Hat – Profiles Theatre
By Cat Wilson
Profiles Theatre opens their 2013-2014 season strong with an explosive and emotional tale of family loyalty and hatred. “In God’s Hat”, written by Rhett Rossi, portrays the delicate balance of love among brothers with a dark past.
After not seeing each other for ten years, Roy, played by the very talented Darrell W. Cox, picks up his older brother Mitch, played by an equally talented Larry Neumann, Jr. They spend a tense night together in a little motel down the road where they begin to open up old wounds, and Roy struggles with what his brother did. But when a fellow recently-released inmate shows up, Roy is forced to decide between his anger towards his brother and his family loyalty.
This show is a beautiful demonstration of what happens when you put four talented, committed actors in a very small space and ask them to play angry, hateful characters with rough morals, hard pasts, and a desire for revenge. You can see Cox’s internal struggle though his tough guy exterior, while also pitying Neumann’s sad, almost childlike character who has all but given up. John Victor Allen plays the heavily tattooed, Nazi ex-con, and in such an intimate space you definitely feel the threat. Bruce Cronander plays a more subtle yet equally intimidating gang boss whose mere presence puts you on alert. With such strong characters only a few feet from your face, you will get sucked into the high powered story and find yourself forgetting to breathe at times.
Director and Artistic Director Joe Jahraus had an interesting challenge with this show. In such a small, intimate space, how do you display such violence and rage without actually injuring a cast member, let alone the audience? With help from violence designers Victor Bayona and Richard Gilbert at R&D Choreography, Jahraus’ careful blocking was effective and evocative.
The design for the show, while appearing simple, works perfectly right down to the tiniest detail. Set designer Shaun Renfro, lighting designer Mike Durst, costume designer Raquel Adorno, and sound designer and original live music composer Jeffrey Levin create a grungy motel atmosphere while also transforming into an outdoor space. The roughness of the characters is well represented in the roughness of the environment, and it all works in a solid cohesion that is hard to find.
In God’s Hat
By Rhett Rossi
Directed by Joe Jahraus
Profiles Theatre, The Main Stage
4139 N. Broadway
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