Review: “Head of Passes” – A test of family and faith

Phylicia Rashad in “Head of Passes." Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Academy Award and MacArthur “Genius Award”-winning playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney’s modern day Greek tragedy at the Mark Taper Forum is one of those memorable productions that audiences will be talking about for a long time. Masterfully balanced with humor, the shards cut deeper in this moving tale of an ailing mother (Phylicia Rashad) trying desperately to reunite her children and keep them from breaking familial bonds. Tony-winner Rashad is spellbinding as Shelah and buoyed by an equally adept and haunting ensemble.

L-R: Kyle Beltran, John Earl Jelks, Phylicia Rashad and Jacqueline Williams in “Head of Passes.” Photo by Craig Schwartz.

The questions elicited in this play are heavy and thought-provoking — the nature of faith, the willful ignorance of transgressions, the toll of retribution. The set design by G.W. Mercier impressively reflects the growing devastation caused by forces of nature and the wrath of God. You’ll be carrying this experience with you long after you’ve left the theatre.

Head of Passes is playing at the Mark Taper Forum through October 22.  Tickets here. 

Ghalib Dhalla.