The mission of Theatre Rhinoceros has long been to produce gay theater that doesn’t simplify complex issues — or, in the words of Artistic Director John Fisher, doesn’t “put a warm and fuzzy blanket over gay people.” In that spirit, Fisher’s crew refuses to take pot shots at even the easiest of targets: the Catholic Church. A new production of Kate Fodor’s 100 Saints You Should Know (in previews tonight and tomorrow) “captures the appeal of Catholicism and the tensions of it,” Fisher says. The show follows characters who feel that “the world isn’t completely explained by the newspaper and T.V.” and search for something larger. One, Matthew (Wylie Herman), is a gay priest struggling with one of his profession’s paradoxical mandates: The Church wants priests to be sexual so that they can sympathize with their parishioners, but it forbids acting on that sexuality. No problem, right? His mother, Colleen (Tamar Cohn), is an Irish Catholic who “understands religion in a primal way, as part of her body” and clashes with her errant son. At a time when, as Fisher says, “it’s hip” to hate on religion, 100 Saints serves as a compelling reminder of the value in asking the big questions.
Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: May 31. Continues through July 1, 2012