Sons of the Prophet was produced with special support from Pat and Paul Sackett and the Park Square Premiere Producers’ Club. Wondering how and why this particular play proved to be such a powerful choice for its producers, I received this response from Pat Sackett:
Paul and I first saw Sons of the Prophet at Roundabout Theater in New York in October of 2011 during a two-week stay for business. As we were heading back to the hotel that night, we recast it with Twin Cities actors (no easy task, the options are so extensive) and concluded this was A Park Square Play. When we returned home, we handed over our collection of 15 Playbills to the PST staff and put Sons on top of the heap, saying this was one they definitely needed to explore further. We enthused over it, we hinted, we suggested, we cajoled, we badgered, we nagged, we forwarded the glowing reviews from the NY Times and The New Yorker, we made sure everyone was aware it was a finalist for the Pulitzer, we got to the point that Artistic Director Richard Cook knew we were going to corner him about Sons every time he saw us and probably avoided us on occasion as a result. After two and a half years, we gave up and tried a different tactic: we bought the script, handed it to him and pretty much stood over him tapping our feet until he read it. At that point, he was hooked and suggested we put our money where our mouths were and provide the cash to secure the rights. So we did, and it finally found a spot in the 2015/2016 season.
Why are we so obsessed with this play? The tagline is “A comedy about suffering” and, yeah, that sounds like a hard sell. Everything in Joseph Douaihys’s life is going wrong and he might just as well have been named Job. Yet the writing is so excellent, you find yourself laughing out loud; the characters are so well drawn and so decidedly human, you find yourself wanting things to work out for each of them. They are us, just trying to get through life with as much happiness as possible and striving to overcome whatever difficulties they slam into. It’s a tricky piece to pull off, and I suspect that’s why it’s taken so many years for it to find a place in theaters across the country. Some plays are immediately forgettable; some you wish you could forget immediately; some you keep returning to for days or weeks or months afterward. This is one of those works–the ones that bring you somewhere you’ve never been and make you think about how that might fit into your own life. In short, A Park Square Play.
Any residual fears we might have had about whether we’d totally missed the boat recommending this piece totally dissipated when we were honored to attend the cast’s first read-through in late April. When we introduced ourselves to the actors as the folks who’d brought the play to Park Square, they couldn’t thank us enough for the juicy roles they’d received; and each of them told us how rich the language was, how much of a challenge the play presented. Despite this being the very beginning of the process, it seemed to us that even without costumes, sets or movement around the stage, each of them had nailed their roles and were going to produce a truly memorable experience for themselves and their audiences.
Come join us during the final shows—the play ends on Sunday, June 5–and see for yourself!