"Photographs are a way of imprisoning reality... One can't possess reality, one can possess images -- one can't possess the present, but one can possess the past." --Susan Sontag
Michael Focas (left), Angie Radosh, Peter Haig, Deborah L. Sherman, and Gregg Weiner (with a mullet!)
Each of the four scenes in Sean Grennan's play Making God Laugh ends in a family photograph that's meant to immortalize a moment in time. We're aware of the unspoken purpose of these images: to preserve the illusion of happiness, tidiness, and unity in a memento of forced smiles. It's an awfully Sontagian device, and a relatable one: After all, how many images in your old photo books even hint at things such as depression, discomfort, and discord? We airbrush them out, maintaining only the reality we want.
Yet, in Actors' Playhouse's production of Making God Laugh -- thanks to the direction and a quintet of uniformly superb performances -- each of these frozen fantasies becomes a snapshot of the characters' emotional states at the time of the photograph. The hurt and the longing show through, defiant and truthful, so that we can, perhaps, peer into their souls.More »