Theater Review: 100 Saints You Should Know at USF College of the Arts

There are two sets of crises in 100 Saints You Should Know, one religious, one sexual. The religious crises are experienced by a priest named Matthew, who’s losing his faith, and a cleaning woman named Theresa, who’s just beginning to gain hers. The sexual crises involve Matthew again – he’s discovering that he’s gay and that he needs physical intimacy – and 16-year-old Garrett, who already knows that he’s gay, but is reluctant to out himself. There are two other important characters — Abby, Theresa’s rule-breaking daughter, and Colleen, Matthew’s dogmatic mother — and then there are the two near-nude dancers who, in Kerry Glamsch’s ambitious staging of the play, punctuate the action with intense slow-motion homoerotic couplings set to music including Gregorian chant.

The ultimate result is mixed: the play is original in its treatment of the ebb and flow of faith, formulaic in its scenes of gay self-actualization, and both spectacular and overly pious — sexually pious! — in its choreography. Still, author Kate Fodor is unafraid to aim for big game (her previous play was about who else, Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt), and on several occasions she scores a direct hit. This may not be a totally successful work of theater, but it’s provocative and daring. At the very least, it’ll give you something to talk about.