In any case, the manifestation of this demon-puppet seems to act as a catalyst for the outbreak of irrepressible errant behavior among the characters who play out their primal impulses in the church basement amidst the arts and crafts, cheery bulletin boards and religious posters.
Though "Hand To God" is a comedy - as attested to by the non-stop laughter of the audience - the characters are so captivating and the story so thought-provoking that one could spend hours - as Tom and I did after the performance - discussing the play's psychological and spiritual motifs.
All the acting - human as well as puppet - was over-the-top wonderful, and often very athletic as the story frenetically rolled along in two fast-paced 40-minute acts. Especially wonderful was Danny Turek, who played the dual roles of Jason, the beleaguered teen, and Tyrone, his possessed-puppet alter-ego.
I cornered the play's director, Edward Carignan, during the intermission and again after the performance to congratulate him on his work and to talk a little about the issues brought out in the play. Mr. Carignan shared with me that the play's author was from the same kind of small Texas town that the play is set in and that the author, like the play's characters, was raised in a church background, as many of us have been, where one's quest for happiness is tied to one's church participation - which doesn't always bring happiness after all.
The stage set of a homey church basement was simple but perfect. Especially clever was the inclusion, among the other inspirational wall decorations, of a poster of President Donald Trump.
In truth the director brilliantly manages to bring to this play, which was written over six years ago and is essentially a study of the characters, the added facet of a cautionary tale for the time and place we now live in.
"Hand To God" will be playing at the Short North Stage until the first weekend in March. If you live in Columbus, can afford the $30 ticket price, and aren't offended by R-rated scenes and language, I sincerely recommend that you go see this play at this venue.
And when you do, be sure and come half an hour early to visit Ethel's Stage Left, the theater's cozy, friendly bar,
Go see it if you can. It'll activate your brain cells. And your heart cells.