Can a mother’s tears thaw a killer’s heart of ice? British playwright Bryony Lavery’s provocative 1998 play, “Frozen,” asks that very question. Nancy (portrayed for Raleigh Ensemble Players by Staci Sabarsky) is the anguished British mother of a missing child, 10-year-old Rhona, whom she fears has fallen victim to Ralph (Eric Morales), a now-imprisoned and seemingly remorseless pedophile and serial killer who preyed on preteens in Nancy’s neighborhood.
Angry, humane and compassionate, “Frozen” is an extraordinary play that entwines the lives of a murderer, the mother of one of his victims, and his psychologist to explore our capacity for forgiveness, remorse, and change after an act that would seem to rule them out entirely.
While Joseph Callender’s eloquence as Cephus Miles in “Home” wins the hearts and minds of Justice Theater Project’s patrons, Rasool Jahan and Joy Williams alternately tickle the audience’s funny-bones and raise their hackles with their charismatic characterizations of some two dozen people — good, bad, and ugly.
When he first read “Home,” director Sean A. Brosnahan says, “I remember being struck by the beauty of the narrative; [and] the way Samm-Art Williams threads dialog, commentary, narration, and poetry into one seamless piece of theatrical art.”
Even with Sexual Harassment in the Workplace as the unacknowledged elephant in the room, “The Mercy Seat” is a tasty dramatic onion that Benji Taylor Jones and Eric Morales peel brilliantly, layer by layer, under the sure-handed guidance of director Sean A. Brosnahan.