Dogmatic beliefs create a prison for faith in Whitefire Theatre’s deep ‘Infidel’

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Infidel creates a realistic world of war-torn Iraq with a story that could be front page news, although, truth be told, our remote viewpoint would only minimize the situation. To us, they are mere names and photos displayed on TV. What deems Infidel as an outstanding production? It breathes depth into the persons involved.

The production attempts to answer the age-old question: What drives peaceful men to violence in the name of God? And it does a superb job in displaying a complex and honest reply.

The plot is simple: American anthropologist John Norton (Ted Monte) is kidnapped for ransom by Islamic extremists. He is taken to a remote location and the embassy is notified. How he interacts with his captors brings the emotional depth to the production.

Monte has the engaging pathos of someone who is threatened by instant death. How he describes the Sumerian mythology is spectacular. He breathes life into it. We benefit greatly as Bobak Cyrus Bakhtiari (Amir) explains the Muslim prayer sequence. It is poetic and beautiful.

Writer/director Christopher Vened creates an atmosphere that does not delve in heavy-handed politics. It is a situation that could happen to any of us. That is its power and leads to its ambiguous ending that this reviewer thought absolutely brilliant.

Infidel benefits from a stellar cast and script that fuels an engaging and thoughtful narrative.

“Infidel” runs through Sunday, October 7 at Whitefire Theatre located at 13500 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. For tickets and information call (323) 960-7738 or visit WhitefireTheatre.com.

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