Regional Reviews: Philadelphia
A Case for the Existence of God
Most of the action in A Case for the Existence of God takes place in a small office cubicle in Twin Falls, Idaho. Set and light designer Thom Weaver captures the chilly dismal feel of a modern office space with impressive felicity. Keith (Stanley), a mortgage broker, is trying to help Ryan (Conallen) put together a loan to purchase a special piece of property. The land Ryan wants to buy represents both his past and future, because it is the plot where his great-grandparents built their homestead and where he hopes to build a home for his young daughter to stay in following a recent divorce. Keith does his best to help Ryan navigate the Kafkaesque mortgage application process, but he is also dealing with his own serious issues. The daughter that Keith has been fostering and planning to adopt has unexpectedly attracted the attention of her biological aunt, putting their entire custody arrangement in jeopardy.
Stanley gives a stunningly authentic performance, realistically portraying a man barely holding his shit together even as his life teeters on the brink of total collapse. Conallen is impossibly vulnerable in his depiction of desperately hopeful Ryan. There is a rare beauty in the way the initially tepid friendship blossoms out of their dire circumstances.
The pair's stellar performances and Pfeiffer's unflinchingly stark production make A Case for the Existence of God a uniquely powerful experience. An insightful depiction of the realities of modern fatherhood, the play gets at the very core of what it means to be a parent in the contemporary United States. Achingly bleak and preciously hopeful, this thought-provoking drama is truly a story of our times.
A Case for the Existence of God runs through January 21, 2024, at Theatre Exile, 1340 South 13th St, Philadelphia PA. For tickets and information, please visit www.theatreexile.org.