The Preacher and the Shrink, by Merle Good. Directed by Steven Yuhasz. Starring Tom Galantich, Dee Hoty, and Adria Vitlar. Currently running at The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row through January 4th, 2014.
"Are women's bodies evil?" Connie, a frustrated poet, asks her pastor father this question, a father she's barely seen in the eight years since her mother's death. Are women's bodies evil? Connie feels betrayed by her own body, convinced she will succumb to the same breast cancer which killed her mother. Michael, Connie's father, suspects Connie of somehow tempting the man she accuses of sexual misconduct. Are women's bodies evil? The poster art, a woman's red lipstick, reminiscent of the art for the 1962 film Lolita, certainly points in that direction. This troubling question, along with the question of a benevolent God in a malevolent universe, lies at the center of Merle Good's new play opening at The Beckett Theatre this month.
Connie, newly returned to her hometown in Pennsylvania after a failed marriage and her seventh rejection from a publisher, tries to sort out what's left of her life, first with her therapist Alexandra (Dee Hoty) and then with her estranged father Michael (Tom Galantich). But when Connie accuses David, a fellow reverend in Michael's church, of touching her inappropriately, her story and her intentions are immediately doubted by both confidantes. David vehemently denies any improper intentions, though he admits his hand may have slipped in the fervor of his prayer. However, when Connie offers to recant her complaint, in exchange for Michael's publicly condemning the loving God he professes to worship, Connie's true wounds come to light, wounds from which she has never healed.