Theater

Hand to God

When: Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through May 6

If you close your eyes and try to imagine a dark, madcap hybrid of The Exorcist and Avenue Q, you might find yourself somewhere in the ballpark of Hand to God, a truly unusual comedy that made its Broadway debut in 2015 and earned five Tony nominations (including Best Play) that same year. Penned by Texan playwright Robert Askins and set in a church basement in his native Cypress (less than 200 miles from San Antonio), the play surrounds a seemingly innocent puppet class that steadily devolves into a deranged scenario riddled with obscenities, sex and violence. Having recently lost his father, grieving teen Jason joins the Christian Puppet Ministry his mother Margery leads but quickly finds himself at odds with Tyrone — his foul-mouthed and flirtatious sock puppet likely possessed by Satan himself. While he may be too timid to hit on nerdy Jessica, Tyrone isn’t — especially when she pulls out her busty puppet Jolene. Meanwhile, Margery fends off sexual advances from Pastor Greg only to hook up with one of her teen students. Beneath all the comic debauchery, Hand to God, which lands on the Public Theater stage this week, juggles with fairly universal themes Variety summed up as “death, depression, alcoholism, sexual guilt, emotional repression, religious hypocrisy and the eternal battle between your good puppet and your bad puppet.”

Price: $210-$35

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