Through May 21|
THE GREAT GOD PAN Jewish Repertory Theatre/The Maxine & Robert Seller Theatre
By Augustine Warner
Life is filled with events we want to remember, forever.
Then, there may be events we want to forget, some to the point we essentially wall off a portion of our brains.
That’s what Amy Herzog’s “The Great God Pan” is about, memories which may have been suppressed, completely, decades later.
That’s especially true of times before social media, with its photo collections and spilling our guts out on Facebook, for better or worse.
Jamie (Adam Yellen) is a rising star at a web-based news magazine when an infant playmate of his contacts him and he learns Frank (Jordan Louis Fischer) has charged his father with sexual abuse in the time when the two were close friends.
Frank wants to know if Jamie was also abused, a possibility he angrily rejects.
Jamie tells live-in and pregnant girlfriend Paige (Kelly Beuth) about the meeting and she isn’t sure the secretive and weak-memoried Jamie doesn’t have something bad in his past.
Their relationship is on a knife’s edge as he can’t decide about her pregnancy and a potential abortion.
He even talks to parents Cathy (Lisa Vitrano) and Doug (Steve Vaughan) about Frank and his parents reject the idea.
Of course, Doug comes to Jamie’s place in Brooklyn to talk about a bad time in their marriage when the son was sent to stay with Frank and Frank’s parents, a time Jamie doesn’t remember.
He does remember babysitter Polly (Darleen Pickering Hummert) who took care of them at the same time, before Frank’s family moved to Ohio.
Polly doesn’t remember things well from so many years ago and it may be getting worse.
What Herzog does is keep suggesting there are things people don’t remember, except what Frank remembers and his father admitted to in a meeting with Frank and a clergyman.
He admitted there were other victims.
Did Frank’s father molest Jamie?
You certainly think there are a lot of reasons to believe Jamie was molested and has scrubbed it from his memory.
That’s the key to “The Great God Pan,” memories or the lack of memories.
There’s also the issue of adults who didn’t pay enough attention to children.
Now, I don’t mean the obsessions about children and “stranger danger” on cable TV, because this is really about what’s the more accurate problem, family members who molest kids and are ignored by the familial adults around them.
The Jewish Rep season has been three plays by Herzog, each of which leaves you walking out of the theater thinking about what you just saw and each about very different topics.
Director Saul Elkin has some strong performances to work with, especially Beuth, Pickering Hummert and Vaughan.
He also keeps the play moving along, partially by using David Dwyer’s set which really doesn’t need to be constantly changing.
“The Great God Pan” leaves you wondering: What bad things have I forgotten about my past?
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