Those familiar with the Velvet Underground will recognize this title from their song "Heroin" "When the smack begins to flow/And I feel like Jesus' son." In Dennis Johnson's collection of short stories, one finds a world of lost souls finding their way to a heaven only accessible to those who have been singed by the fires of hell.
While the 1999 film adaptation of Jesus' Son weaves together these loosely connected tales though the eyes of FH (aka Fuckhead), the Book-It Repertory takes on the feel of a readers theater going off mic. From the moment I walked in to the theater and the bartender offered me a cold PBR to the closing depiction of Fuckhead spread out cross-like, I felt the spitfire touch of Johnson's words. Instead of donning a character mask and simply reading off the page, the actors weaved around the musicians enticing the audience to play.
Initially I balked. Simply put, I had done too much recovery work combatting my late parent's spiral from idealistic hippies before descending to death during the '70s me generation. I'm not about to dance ever again with these demons. But Johnson's haunting stories kept puling me word by word towards the Promised Land until like Fuckhead, I had no choice but to surrender to the possibility of hope. And dance I did.
While this full length show has closed, for details about the other books Book-It Repertory's will bring to the stage this season, log on to www.book-it.org.