A Prayer for My Daughter | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

A Prayer for My Daughter 

A PRAYER FOR MY DAUGHTER, Funkdubious Productions, at Profiles Theatre. If you look up Thomas Babe in the third edition of Contemporary Dramatists you'll come across the following quote from him: "I've gotten in a lot of critical trouble in my native turf, most of which I've tried to weather, because when you push at the edges of things that people really care about, you find the breaking point."

This rambling, whining, self-serving line illustrates well what's wrong with his 1977 play A Prayer for My Daughter. Painfully predictable and not the least bit innovative, it takes two hours to accomplish what a more careful and artful playwright could do in one act--and a short one at that. Yet for some reason director Patrick Wilkes and his cast, who either over- or underact, have tried to breathe life into this corpse.

Set in a police station, the play concerns a pair of cops--one "good," one "bad"--who spend the Fourth of July interrogating a pair of hoods they've picked up for the robbery and murder of an elderly shop owner. We quickly figure out that one of the alleged perps did indeed kill the old lady, which leaves about 90 minutes for such excitement as one crook's long monologue about his experiences in Vietnam and the bad cop's repeated, absolutely unbelievable refusal to aid his adolescent daughter, who calls threatening to blow her brains out. Why he wouldn't jump at the chance to flee this tiresome scene is one of the great unanswered questions of the play.

--Jack Helbig

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More by Jack Helbig

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