×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

God’s Heart

Perhaps the most prophetic observation in "God's Heart" is contributed by a principal character who asks if you have ever found yourself in a horrible dream and couldn't find a way out. The new play by Craig Lucas is a pretentious journey into cyberspace where dark dreams run rampant and collide. Despite some fervent acting by a fine cast, the drama is little more than a muddled high-tech study in confusion. Janet (Amy Brenneman) is a new mother and the wife of a Manhattan doctor (John Benjamin Hickey). Getting the latest news online from a laptop computer appears to be the most fun the couple has in bed, and Janet dozes off having just heard the sordid details of a murder involving neighbors in her apartment complex. Her subsequent dream sends her off into the night in pursuit of the victim, interrogating a catatonic hospital patient and ending up in a crack den.

With:
Ndehru Roberts (Carlin), Amy Brenneman (Janet), John Benjamin Hickey (David), Kia Joy Goodwin (Angela), Lisa Leguillou (Ana), Viola Davis (Eleanor), Julie Kavner (Barbara), Kevin Carroll (Cashmere/Dr. Franks); Kisha Howard, Kim Yancey Moore, Akili Prince, Peter Rini, Pamela Stewart.

Perhaps the most prophetic observation in “God’s Heart” is contributed by a principal character who asks if you have ever found yourself in a horrible dream and couldn’t find a way out. The new play by Craig Lucas is a pretentious journey into cyberspace where dark dreams run rampant and collide. Despite some fervent acting by a fine cast, the drama is little more than a muddled high-tech study in confusion.

Janet (Amy Brenneman) is a new mother and the wife of a Manhattan doctor (John Benjamin Hickey). Getting the latest news online from a laptop computer appears to be the most fun the couple has in bed, and Janet dozes off having just heard the sordid details of a murder involving neighbors in her apartment complex. Her subsequent dream sends her off into the night in pursuit of the victim, interrogating a catatonic hospital patient and ending up in a crack den.

Carlin (Ndehru Roberts) is an eager young student in awe of modern technology and its potential, who falls asleep on a park bench only to find himself in a drug deal gone bad. Barbara (Julie Kavner) is a documentary filmmaker traveling on a train with her lover, Eleanor (Viola Davis), a television personality who is dying of cancer. Barbara’s nightmare brings Eleanor in her last hours to a computer clinic where 30,000 questions are pumped into her brain before she dies, so that she will remain forever as a digital library.

After her demise and cremation, Eleanor appears on a video screen as a massive talking head to exhibit her new scholarly awareness. It seems she has learned to play chess, studied physics and baseball stats, read the Constitution for the first time, and discovered that the first recorded marriage in the Vatican library has been suppressed because its partners were of the same sex.

Upon awakening, Janet decides to move to the country and be a model housewife, Carlin vows to buckle down with his studies, and Barbara, mourning the loss of her lover, preaches Eleanor’s lesson of compassion.

There are quite possibly three different plays at the core of Lucas’ maelstrom; the dreams and characters never quite merge with clarity. Missing also is the playwright’s discomfiting humor, so aptly illustrated in “Reckless” and “Prelude to a Kiss.”

The acting is certainly to be commended for its freshness and vitality, especially Brenneman as a misguided nightstalker, Davis as an eternal guru and Kavner as her comforting companion. Director Joe Mantello has managed to move the actors up and around Robert Brill’s two-tier set with a sense of urgency lacking in the meandering text.

God's Heart

Opened April 6, 1997, at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. Reviewed April 9; 299 seats; $45 top

Production: A Lincoln Center Theater presentation of a play in two acts by Craig Lucas. Directed by Joe Mantello.

Creative: Set, Robert Brill; costumes, Toni-Leslie James; lighting, Brian MacDevitt; music, sound, Dan Moses Schreier; stage manager, Thom Widmann. Lincoln Center artistic director, Andre Bishop. Running time: 2 HOURS, 10 MIN.

Cast: Ndehru Roberts (Carlin), Amy Brenneman (Janet), John Benjamin Hickey (David), Kia Joy Goodwin (Angela), Lisa Leguillou (Ana), Viola Davis (Eleanor), Julie Kavner (Barbara), Kevin Carroll (Cashmere/Dr. Franks); Kisha Howard, Kim Yancey Moore, Akili Prince, Peter Rini, Pamela Stewart.

More Legit

  • CAROL CHANNING HERSCHFELD. Actress Carol Channing

    Remembering Carol Channing: A Master of Channeling the Power of Personality

    There was only one Carol Channing, and her outsize personality was a source of delight to many fans — and imitators. Gerard Alessandrini’s stage spoof “Forbidden Broadway” had many incarnations over the years, including the 1994 edition when an audience member was selected every evening to come onstage and impersonate Carol Channing with the cast. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda Among Celebrities Remembering Carol Channing

    Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bernadette Peters are among the slew of celebrities taking to Twitter to pay tribute to late singer, comedienne and actress Carol Channing. Known for her starring roles in Broadway’s “Hello Dolly!” and “Gentleman Prefer Blondes,” the legend of the stage and screen died Tuesday at her home in Rancho Mirage, [...]

  • What the Constitution Means to Me

    Listen: How Things Got Scary in 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

    For a decade, writer-performer Heidi Schreck had wanted to write a play inspired by her experiences as a teen debater. But over the years the show started to develop into something both urgently political and deeply personal — and things got scary. In the Broadway-bound “What the Constitution Means to Me,” Schreck reimagines her speech-and-debate [...]

  • Carol Channing Dead

    Carol Channing, Star of Broadway's 'Hello, Dolly!' and 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,' Dies at 97

    Larger-than-life musical stage personality Carol Channing, who immortalized the characters of Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and Dolly Gallagher Levi in “Hello, Dolly!,” has died. She was 97. Channing died Tuesday of natural causes at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Her publicist B. Harlan Boll confirmed the news. He wrote, “It is with [...]

  • 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

    'What the Constitution Means to Me' Transfers to Broadway

    “What the Constitution Means to Me,” a buzzy Off-Broadway production that counts Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinem among its fans, is making the move uptown. The play will come to Broadway this spring for a 12-week limited run at the Helen Hayes Theater. “What the Constitution Means to Me” is one part civics lesson, one [...]

  • Choir Boy review

    Broadway Review: 'Choir Boy'

    Honestly, I was afraid that “Choir Boy” — the sweetly exuberant account of a gifted prep school boy’s coming of age, written by “Moonlight” Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney — would be swallowed up in a Broadway house, after winning us over in an Off Broadway staging in 2013.  But aside from the odd set [...]

  • Jason Robert Brown

    Listen: How Ariana Grande Got Jason Robert Brown to Madison Square Garden

    Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown never expected to find himself performing onstage at Madison Square Garden. But he did — thanks to his pal Ariana Grande. Brown met Grande before she was a superstar, when she was in the 2008 Broadway cast of his teen musical “13.” The two have kept in touch ever since [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content