Jesus Christ, I'm Sorry
nytheatre.com review by Josh Sherman
March 8, 2007
Jesus Christ, I'm Sorry is a one-man show, written by and starring Brent Hirose, that tells the story of Andrew Barton, a self-described decent guy who just graduated high school and is having a crisis of his Protestant Christian faith. This piece is a well-meaning journey of self-discovery for Barton, and Hirose is a likeable performer himself. The problem lies in the lack of true theatricality on display, and that most of the plot twists are vanilla and predictable.
Andrew begins at a Christian youth retreat in an unidentified location, as he's taking a walk to clear his head about his "argument" with God. Andrew has essentially been pressured by his father into participating in youth group church activities as a tribute to his deceased mother. We meet his wise-ass friend Seth and his British buddy Ethan in short order, who accompany him to church and provide his social base. Ethan introduces Andrew to Jen, who he promptly falls in love with. Andrew and Jen have sex, for which she feels tremendous Christian guilt about. Ethan comes out of the closet to his own dad, for which he is immediately booted from the house, and then goes to live at Andrew's for awhile. Ethan then comes out to the entire church during a youth sermon day (the play's only real surprise) and is promptly sent to live with his unseen mother. Something then happens that is foreshadowed in the first minutes of the play, and subsequently Andrew stops having faith in Jesus.
Jesus Christ, I'm Sorry maintains an adolescent tone that may or may not have been intentional, but makes it seem like it needs a significant overhaul. Physically, the play is static and the lighting shifts don't really help. It is possible the proceedings could have maintained my interest level with a director (there's not one credited, so I'm assuming it's Hirose again) to help point out the flaws, or give the piece some ebb and flow. As is, it comes across as bland and underdeveloped, and there's not any movement on stage to enhance the dialogue.
Hirose changes characters adequately enough, but there isn't anything in the play itself that a high school kid hasn't been forced to watch in Sunday school, on an afterschool special, or during a slow part of the academic year in class. With such a great title, I was disappointed that the play itself evolved into something so dull. I believe that Hirose is a talented guy who just needs to generate some more compelling material for his next one-man project.