Pacific Theatre

A Case For The Existence Of God by Samuel D. Hunter
When & Where
May 16 -June 9, 2024; : Wed-Thurs at 7:30pm, Fri-Sat at 8pm, Sat & Sun matinees at 2pm I Pacific Theatre, 1440 W. 12th Avenue

Director Kaitlin Williams Lighting Design Hina Nishioka Sound Design Rick Colhoun Costume Design Jennifer Milley Props Coordination Monica EmmeStage Manager Sam Pawliuk

Reviewer John Anthony Jane

Samuel D. Hunter’s two-handed, single act play, A Case for the Existence of God opened last night (17/5/24) at the Pacific Theatre. The production was intelligently directed by Kaitlin Williams with Kwesi Ameyaw and Robert Salvador delivering powerful performances. Hunter’s play is set in Idaho in roughly present time and simultaneously offers the lightness of comedy and the heaviness of drama.

The play centres around two men in their early forties and both fathers. That appears to be where their similarity ends. Keith is black, gay and well-educated; Ryan is white, straight, soon to be divorced and undereducated. The two men had presumably met at a dare care prior to any action seen on stage.

Despite their apparent differences, over the course of several meetings that initially focused on Ryan’s need for a mortgage, they freely divulge personal details about their circumstances. They gradually become comfortable discussing family, relationships and travel. At this point, Ryan profoundly suggests that “I think we share a kind of sadness.” Certainly Ryan, and through different circumstances, Keith are each afraid of having to give up their daughter.

Kwesi Ameyaw as the uptight Keith and Robert Salvador as the feckless Ryan skillfully play off each other’s character, keeping the audience guessing as to which ones emotions will spill over first.

Alaia Hamer’s single set of Keith’s Mortgage Brokerage office consisting of a simple desk and a chair on either side of the desk mounted on an elevated platform to indicate the limited space. Even when the action takes place elsewhere, the office is ubiquitary. While the association of these two men is spread over weeks and eventually months, Jennifer Milley’s single purpose clothing might suggest a much shorter time frame. Would not a costume change be warranted at least for the final outdoor scene?

In the house program, director Kaitlin Williams challenges the audience (at least those who read it) to suggest the meaning of the play’s rather provocative title. I think if it was intended as a theological argument it may have been better called A Need for the Presence of God. However, Ryan and Keith do not themselves have much of a handle on the situation and it seems unlikely that either man places any such trust in an almighty power, it is feasible that Samuel D. Hunter declares on their behalf that there is really no case for God’s existence.

© 2024 John Anthony Jane