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‘Heroes of the Fourth Turning’ Review: Gotta Have Faith

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Heroes of the Fourth Turning (★★★☆☆) at Studio Theatre, might be a few degrees shy of riveting, but it’s very good.Part juicy reunion drama, part theatrical symposium on Catholic conservatism during the Trump years, the play brings together former Catholic university classmates Justin (Gregory Connors), Kevin (Louis Reyes McWilliams), and Teresa (Laura C.

Harris) for a fraught night of healthy and unhealthy debate.Seven years after graduating from the Transfiguration College of Wyoming, they’ve gathered at Justin’s modest home on the outskirts of the school’s small Wyoming town, taking stock of their lives.

They’re joined by Emily (Sophia Lillis, of It film fame), the daughter of two of the college’s faculty.Terminally ill Emily walks with the help of crutches, and inhabits, as she calls it, a “prairie of pain.” Yet through, or despite, her suffering, she remains among them the voice of hope and innocence.Lillis finds the right measure of lightness and soberness in Emily, so that the character isn’t twee but endearingly wholesome.

Her bright-eyed openness contrasts effectively with the varying shades of doubt, cynicism, and close-mindedness embodied by hyperactive pleasure seeker Kevin, taciturn moralist Justin, and media-savvy right-winger Teresa.Playwright Arbery grew up in a household of Catholic academics, and with relish arranges this flock of faithful in charged pairs, trios, and quartets of tense, at times cut-to-the-quick conflict.

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