The Miracle Theater, 736-1027
Through Oct 13

Even though the premise of the Miracle's current production of Edwin Sanchez' Icarus has a deceptively simple plot, it's got compelling characters in spades, which makes the play as a whole incredibly compelling. The plot goes like this. Sister-and-brother team of Altagracia (Ina V. Strauss) and Primitivo (Jim Garcia) has taken refuge from the real world at a remote, vacant beach house. Altagracia, with the help of another patient, Mr. Ellis (Paddric M. Fitzgerald), have broken Primitivo out of an insane asylum, though the only thing that seems wrong with Primitivo's brain is that he continues to love life despite being a paraplegic.

Altagracia is a strong woman who would be "beautiful" if she didn't have a deformity on her face. Of course, she is beautiful--the audience knows it, her brother knows it, Mr. Ellis knows it, and the mysterious man who shows up at the beachhouse wearing a ski mask (Shuhe) knows it. Only she doesn't know it, but isolated from society, she finally has a chance to discover it. That's what the play's about: stripping away beauty fabricated by others to discover the beauty within yourself.

God, that sounds so cheesy, and there are cheesy moments in this play. The has-been, next door, Hollywood starlet (Diane Englert), repeatedly utters the phrase, "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, etc," as a prayer to the biz gods that her career will be rejuvenated. There's actually quite a lot of brutal star imagery, and the crazy, wise Mr. Ellis carries around a suitcase full of "dreams" that he offers to each character at one point or another.

But such heavy-handed symbolism does nothing to detract from the power of this play. So distinct are the individual internal struggles that each character wages with beauty, and so convincingly are these struggles portrayed by the actors, that even the cheesiest moments carry a sense of power, and yes, beauty.

I've only given the barest hint of what this play has to offer. There are so many stories coursing through it, about courage and tenacity, truth and consequences. I want to be more specific, but I'm out of room. That's okay, though. I've outlined the characters. I want you to go observe the lines that connect them. My descriptions wouldn't do those justice anyway.