Light %amp; Love
nytheatre.com review by Susan Rankus
August 12, 2006
Light & Love, written and directed by S.P. Riordan and presented by Moving Faces, is a dramatic look at a new controversial religion and the effects of its questionable ideology on its flock. This new religion is called Illuminology. This group believes light is simply all we need and that western evils, such as modern psychiatry and prescription medication, are forbidden as they are extinguishing the light. Can we truly say goodbye to our vices, stop taking our medicine, and finally see the light? What causes us to believe with fervor certain tenets of our chosen religions and completely ignore others? Especially when our individual happiness, peace of mind, acceptance, and most importantly our well being are put in direct exposure?
The story centers on Kath and Van, two people in separate locations who have agreed to be questioned about a recent tragedy. Their stories intermingle to reveal their involvement in the cult-like religious movement of Illuminology. The pair's charismatic friend Sully is a true believer, and soon entangles the two within the inner circle of the church.
This piece has a great deal of potential. The subject matter is very interesting and not a topic that is covered a great deal. It's fascinating to see why and how one could become involved in a cult. It is also intriguing to see the inner workings and the points of view of people who believe things that may seem ridiculous to others.
Dan Dominigues, who plays both the Interviewer and Sully, has a natural charisma that draws you in. Jessica Ripton is very realistic as Kath. James Huffman is sympathetic as Van. Riordan's staging and writing is very economical in the way he designs both interviews to occur simultaneously. A majority of the play is just monologues, which is a very tricky thing to do. I would like to have seen the story physically acted out more and seen the characters experience the events almost as if they were happening for the first time. It's hard for an audience to go on a journey with the characters if the characters aren't fully on a journey themselves. But overall, Light & Love has great possibilities—and a shocking ending that you won't see coming.