Lloyd Suh gives us all the things we're not supposed to talk about: sex, religion, drugs, religious figures taking drugs and religious figures having sex. Maybe this is why Jesus in India is SO good!
It is an open question as to when diehard Christians will walk out of this play. They shouldn't -- because the dilemma posed is such a human one. What would you do if your father told you, when you turned eighteen, that he is not your real father, that you are instead the son of God and are destined to become King of the Jews, and then die?
You'd run away, that's what you'd do. Jesus (Damon Daunno) sets out on his bicy-camel for all parts East, accompanied by his adoring girl friend Abigail (Jessica Lynn Carroll). But he is eighteen and itchy for new experiences, which he finds when they get to India. His new friends Gopal (Bobak Bakhtiari), Sushil (Jomar Tagatac) and, especially, Sushil's fifteen-year-old sister Mahari (Mahira Kakkar) offer Jesus a nice alternative to returning home to Galilee, which, anyway, is under attack from the Romans.
Seeing as we know how the story ends, but Jesus apparently doesn't, we wonder why he would leave Paradise and go back to the desert. Life with Mahari and her stoner brother and friend could be excellent, if only that star hanging overhead would go away.
You have to really tip your hat to Damon Daunno -- his original music and performance puts "Jesus in India" on another level. And we love the bicy-camel.
RATINGS: ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards Jesus in India Four Fat Stars. You never know what is coming next. Daunno and his buddies Tagatac and Bakhtiari are terrific stoners. We love the bits about smoking frankincense as the star rises overhead, as well as the way Jesus plays such funkified electric bass when he touches the instrument for the first time. Daniella Topol's direction couldn't be smoother. This is first-rate writing, acting and directing.
"Jesus in India"
The Magic Theatre
Bldg. D, Fort Mason, San Francisco
Through Feb. 19
Photo credit: Jennifer Reiley