For Pete's Sake
nytheatre.com review by Amber Gallery
September 28, 2012
For Pete’s Sake is an intelligent, inspiring and important piece of theater. Sadly, the media has made the subject matter of this play almost tiresome – the abuse of young boys by priests, and the Catholic Church’s far fall from grace as they attempted to bury the stories. For Pete’s Sake wipes this slate clean – it gets us up close and personal with one victim’s struggle to admit his abuse. It shows us how he begins to heal. It enlightens us to the subtlety of the abuser. I left this show truly excited by what it has to offer – and I immediately began to spread the word.
Joe Capozzi, the show’s writer and star, is sharing this story with us from his own personal experience. Originally from Northern New Jersey, he was “groomed”, starting at the age of 8, by close family friend and pastor, Pete, for later sexual abuse. He was given gifts and taken on trips and offered kindness and fatherly advice. After trust was gained, the abuse began. 20 years into his adult life, after problems with substance abuse and several failed relationships, (not to mention the possibility of others falling victim) Mr. Capozzi made the decision to go public with his story. The articles are there if you Google them.
For Pete’s Sake is far more than a story about the sexual abuse of a boy by a pastor – it speaks to just about anyone who has been manipulated by another person in a position of power. It’s about the courage to live a truthful life after and to have the kindness to educate others. Capozzi has the wisdom to reach so far inside of himself that his struggle belongs to all of us. It is a beautiful and selfless act.
As an evening of theater, For Pete’s Sake hits all the right marks. Capozzi’s writing is in turns acerbic, insightful and moving. All angles, all possible criticisms, and all ugly truths are addressed and examined. The use of his two opposing “voices” inside his head, brought to life wonderfully by actors Alfredo Diaz and David G Beck, serves as the perfect device to illustrate his inner struggle. The three actors (Capozzi plays himself) work off each other beautifully.
Director Angelique Letizia stages the show to perfection – there is never a lost moment or break in the action and she moves Capozzi seamlessly around the stage as he interacts with different people in his life. Her use of music, projection (designed by Peter Kostandelos) and lighting (designed by Jimmy Lawlor) complete the package.
Jorge Humberto Hoyos does a great job as Pete, Joe’s abuser. He plays the part simply, and not as a stereotypical villain, adding to Joe’s conflict. Bilgin Turker who plays all the female roles, is a fantastic comedic actress (she is positively “Jersey” as one of Joe’s ex girlfriends). Tom Pilutik achieves distinction among all the other male roles like Joe’s father, brother, and even waiter. Mr. Piltuk embodies them all with gorgeous nuances. Mr. Capozzi himself is a fine actor – effective and likeable and relives his emotional experiences with skill and professionalism.
The show ended exactly as I hoped it would. You should see it for yourself. It will change you. While I don’t see For Pete’s Sake as Broadway fare (what with musicals dominating the scene – and I think the intimacy would be lost in a large theater) I hope it continues to be seen and gets the financial support it deserves.