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Eye of God

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EYE OF GOD, Profiles Theatre. In the manner of Pinter and Peckinpah, Tim Blake Nelson's play is more than a simple chronicle of the tempestuous marriage between an ex-convict and a naive waitress in the small town of Kingfisher, Oklahoma--it's a complex and intensely dramatic elegy. Hidden beneath its plain language and deceptive aura of small-town warmth is a maze of dark allegories and philosophical meditations, as Nelson intricately intertwines the lives of 12 townspeople from the time the couple first meet to the play's blood-drenched climax.

As Jack, the ex-con, Darrell W. Cox walks a fine line between idealism and fanaticism. Jack's struggle to hide the skeletons in his closet is the crux of Eye of God, and Cox responds admirably to the challenges of the role by charting Jack's transformation from man to misguided martyr with subtle changes in vocal pitch, movement, and expression. Kerry Cox's unassuming waitress and John Sterchi's comic parole officer are every bit as honest and precise.

Even more striking is Joe Jahraus's clever set. Jahraus--who also plays the town sheriff--adds dimension to Profiles Theatre's small space by juxtaposing natural and man-made objects. Although a film adaptation of Eye of God directed by Nelson himself was the toast of this year's Sundance festival, it's hard to imagine that it's any more resonant than this terrific and terrifying production.

--Nick Green

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