With Imaginary Jesus, author Matt Mikalatos has written an interesting look at the way that people of faith envision their savior, and playwright Deanna Jent has taken a stab at a stage adaptation that manages to capture it's whimsical approach. Though, it's not always as sharply focused as it probably should be, this is still an enjoyable ride, featuring a great cast and Jent's own direction.
Matt is approached by St. Peter after he berates his “imaginary Jesus” for not being able to fix a parking ticket. Soon, he's talking to a donkey named Daisy, and facing down other embodiments of Jesus, such as Political Jesus (a smooth Roger Erb), Bargain Jesus (a loud jacketed Ben Ritchie), King James Jesus (Amy Loui) and even Tel-Evangelist Jesus (a hilarious Aaron Orion Baker). It seems Matt really began to question his faith after a miscarriage with his wife Krista (Julie Venegoni), and Pete (as he's referred to here) steps up to take him on a journey to see “the real thing”.
Chad Morris narrates the story, while Robert Thibaut does nice work as his physical counterpart, Matt. J. Samuel Davis is solid, as always, as Peter, and Nicole Angeli is good as a prostitute named Sandy. Michelle Hand makes the most of her fanciful role as the talking Donkey, and Justin Ivan Brown amuses as Matt's Imaginary Jesus.
Director Deanna Jent does strong work for the most part, but there's a kind of looseness to the proceedings that's a little disconcerting at times. Dunsi Dai's imaginative set offers up a couple of different levels for the performers, and Michael Sullivan's lighting is nicely executed. JC Krajicek's costumes are good fits for the characters.
I found Imaginary Jesus fitfully funny, maybe even a bit unfinished overall. But, I still think it's an intriguing concept, and as a work outside the norm, I recommend seeing it. This production continues through December 2, 2012.