Under Ahonen's direction, the characters run like overexcited animals around designer Al Schatz's re-creation of Barry's childhood home, a tacky delight with bright blue walls, porcelain children's toys, and an imposing moose head. They yell, hurl racial epithets, panic, and pontificate as though breathing would kill them. James Kautz, as the family lawyer, and Jennifer Fouche, as a visitor from the Midwest with a telepathic connection to Barry, are oases of stolidity and craft, but the rest of the cast work in such broad strokes that their characters are entirely unlikable. This is even true of Aysha Quinn, who, as Barry's pot-smoking hippie wife, should balance the Ricewaters' mania but instead vanishes into the scenery.
Barry is the fix-it kind of messiah, promising to heal a "disoriented species" with "necessary adjustments through divine intervention." His first acts upon his resurrection are retributive and, for many of the characters, awe-inspiring. But taking a deep breath and trusting in external forces is hardly a prescription for moral decay. Ahonen's critique is vague—are we failing to appreciate the world around us or failing to take responsibility for it?—and belies an all-too-American faith that a deus ex machina will clean up the mess he's made.
Presented by the Amoralists at Theatre 80 St. Marks, 80 St. Mark's Place, NYC. June 5–28. Mon., Thu.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m. (212) 388-0388 or www.theatre80.net. Additional casting by Cindi Rush Casting.