By Luke Dodge
Revelations is a two-act play of hope and loss. A fairly elaborate stage set-up finds us in a large family room complete with a couch, fireplace, armchairs, and dining room table. Even the front door and bits of the house are included. The set looks out into the audience which is used as another part of the world giving a sense of immersion.
We start in the middle of the action, putting you on edge immediately. The Rapture has occurred and the once dead have become the “Risen.” A family struggles to maintain its identity and their faith in God in light of the apocalypse. Think Little House on the Prairie meets The Walking Dead.
The chemistry between Rose (Jessica Franz) and Benjamin (Scott Cox) is delightful, bringing their relationship as a sweet, loving couple to life. Their son Lawrence (Steven Covert) is an impatient teenager who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know (as most teenagers are but will never admit). Steven expertly balances eager and scared as his character transitions from boy to man. Their daughter Hannah (Iliana Miller) is kept sheltered and unaware of the horror of the outside world. Iliana plays the role of a child superbly, though I can’t help but wonder why we don’t see child actors during Fringe; a minor quibble.
Little details like a secret knock on the door and tin can alarm systems add depth to the world. The slow pace and use of silence as we watch the passage of time is like looking in on a small slice of life. Action continues “off camera” giving the show a voyeuristic feel. You’d expect makeup in a zombie story and these did not disappoint, transforming actors into terrible visages of their former selves.
Faith is a pervasive theme as we explore the blurred line where God's plan ends and Man's choice begins. Or can both even exist at the same time? When Walt (Derek Trautwein) and Gus (Matthew Sanchez) arrive, the family is thrown into turmoil. Internal struggles of the characters bring out their true nature in the face of days in an intense fight for survival. Derek delivers fiery performance, racketing the already high energy of the scene up several notches.
Literally on the edge of my seat during the last chaotic minutes of the second act, I found myself holding my breath through to its final riveting conclusion.