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Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater, one of the East Coast’s leading drama companies, has taped a fully staged site-specific production of “Heroes of the Fourth Turning” at a private location in the Poconos, turning the cast and crew into a closed quarantine “bubble” so that they could work together face-to-face instead of taping their performances separately via Zoom or green screens. The result, which looks more like a small-scale movie than an online webcast of a stage show, is a flawless, impressively well-cast production of a work of singular distinction, one for which the word “remarkable” is, if anything, an understatement.
The play, directed by Blanka Zizka, is set in rural Wyoming in 2017. It centers on Emily (Campbell O’Hare), Kevin (Justin Jain) and Teresa (Sarah Gliko), who are in their mid-to-late 20s and are meeting at the off-the-grid shack of Justin (Jered McLenigan), a somewhat older but like-minded man. The young people are all in the familiar process of discovering themselves, but there is nothing else ordinary about them: They are conservative Catholic intellectuals-in-the-making who have been girding themselves for battle in the coming culture wars….
While I feel sure that many of those who saw “Heroes of the Fourth Turning” in New York found the characters, not entirely without reason, to be potentially dangerous extremists, they are far more complicated and interesting than that, for life in urban America has nibbled away at their orthodoxies….
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The trailer for the Wilma Theater’s webcast of Heroes of the Fourth Turning: