About a week ago, a cast member of Balm in Gilead described it to me as a show that “some people are going to love and some people are going to absolutely hate.” Although I know it’s my responsibility to come up with my own descriptions, this one is about as accurate as it gets.
I’ll begin by saying that on the aforementioned love-hate spectrum for this show, I fall firmly into the former end. It’s not often that I get the pleasure of going to see a show that truly surprises me, and makes me feel as though I’ve never seen anything like it before. However, some people don’t like to be surprised. In fact, in the row that I was sitting in, there were no fewer than four people who felt that way — a middle-aged woman who fell asleep within the first 10 minutes, and a family of three that left at intermission. But I don’t think that the KCDC Powers That Be mounted this production without anticipating those reactions. Balm in Gilead isn’t a show that tries to please the visitors who came for Family Weekend; instead, it asks them why they wanted to be pleased in the first place.