MAY 2024 | Volume 239


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A Case for the Existence of God
by Samuel D. Hunter
Pacific Theatre
May 16-June 9
$15-$40 or 604-731-5518

A play about a fascinating friendship, Samuel D. Hunter’s A Case for the Existence of God could probably get a Vancouver staging only at Pacific Theatre. Not because the subject matter is spiritual or theological, as is often the case at PT—the play’s title has nothing directly to do with its plot—but because the snug confines of the theatre and its tiny alley-style stage floor prove ideal for this intimate two-hander.

Keith (Kwesi Ameyaw) and Ryan (Rob Salvador) sit across a desk from one another for almost the entire 80 minutes. Keith is a mortgage broker in the small city of Twin Falls, Idaho. Local guy Ryan wants to buy a piece of property that has special meaning for him, and needs to get a mortgage. Turns out they went to the same Twin Falls high school and were in the same year. But they couldn’t be more different or, as we and they will discover by the end of the play, more similar.

Ryan is poor, uneducated, and comes from a broken home (both his parents were addicts). University educated Keith is the son of a lawyer. He’s also gay and Black. Both men are troubled, and their various troubles leak out, little by little, in the brief successive scenes. What they maybe have most in common is the fact that both have year-and-a-half year old daughters and, for both men, their status as fathers is precarious.

Their relationship waxes and wanes. They bond. They fight. There are fears, disappointments, and maybe some triumphs. The end of the play features a twist that may explain the otherwise mysterious title.

Despite what might seem like static staging for this talky piece, director Kaitlin Williams animates the actors even while they sit in their chairs. Even the slightest movements become meaningful. And the acting is terrific. Both Ameyaw and Salvador manage to sound utterly natural and colloquial even though their characters’ styles are so different. Keith is relatively buttoned up, somewhat formal and restrained much of the time while Ryan is twitchy, emotional, a little melodramatic. The contrasts nicely help to bring out the similarities in this odd couple.

A small story with large ramifications, A Case for the Existence of God is the kind of play Pacific Theatre does best. Highly recommended.




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