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REVIEW: ‘The God Committee’ is a humble production with lofty ambitions

REVIEW: ‘The God Committee’ is a humble production with lofty ambitions

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If you had the power to choose who would live or die, how would you do it? 

This is the question the characters of The God Committee seek to answer and as the play progresses, they discover the lines they are willing to cross to fight for their beliefs.

Mark St. Germain’s play is set at the St. Patrick’s Hospital in New York, on St. Patrick’s Day. When a heart suddenly becomes available, the members of the Heart Transplant Selection Committee need to decide which among three patients should receive it. Since the crucial decision must be made quickly, the process becomes a ticking time-bomb, further complicated by the characters’ perceptions of the three patients as well as other personal motives.

Since all of the action of the play takes place within a meeting room in a hospital, there is no need for an elaborate set, large props or colorful costumes. Director Kiefer Sison and set designer Anna Tan made the most of their venue by sticking to the essentials, setting up a small meeting room in the center of the restaurant with simple lights and sound effects (also by Sison) to frame the entrance and the walls. The audience was made to feel like they were attending the meeting too, lending a certain intimacy and immediacy to the production. 

The cast spent most of the play seated at the meeting table while the character of Nurse Larkin (played by Tan) would occasionally write notes on a whiteboard. The eponymous committee was comprised of doctors, a social worker, and even a priest-lawyer representing the hospital’s board of directors. The three patients eligible for the heart transplant include a terminally ill poet with no support system, a widow and former nurse who already had a heart transplant before, and the son of one of the hospital’s backers who also pledges to donate a grant of $50 million to the hospital to fast-track the selection process.

In what is essentially a long debate, the different characters literally and metaphorically strove to make their voices heard. The most memorable and prominent performances were from Timothy Racho as veteran Dr. Jack Klee, who calmly and rationally facilitated the discussion, and from Darren Vasquez as Dr. Alex Gorman, a hot-headed but seemingly cold-hearted surgeon who seemed more concerned with science than sentiment. 

Jerome Izon was charming but astute as the wheelchair-bound social worker, Dominick Piero, who lent some levity to the proceedings. Another interesting and memorable performance was from Hannah Marasigan (in full wig and facial hair by Carlos Siongco) as Fr. Charles Dunbar, a Catholic priest who is also a lawyer, and whose moral arguments often threw a wrench into the debates. Marasigan was able to exude gravitas and wisdom, blending into the role in a way that wasn’t distracting. Ironically, the priest’s arguments were not even the preachiest ones in the debate, owing to his legal background.

Nurse Larkin (Tan) was also a more assertive and authoritative presence than the two other doctors, played by Yvonne Gabrielle Russell and Cha Crisostomo, who had their own subplots but were not so easily distinguishable from the other. At times, this author was unable to hear either Russell or Crisostomo due to faulty mics, so it was difficult to get a good grasp of their characters.

The audio issue was one of the major difficulties of staging such an intimate production in the middle of a restaurant where the sound and movement of wait staff caused more distraction. The strength of a piece such as The God Committee lies in its dialogue, and since the play runs for just a little over an hour, every line counts. And when a line or two is not heard clearly by the audience because the venue is far from ideal, the already complex play becomes even more difficult to understand.

The script is fast-paced and snappy, peppered with medical jargon and New York slang. Unfortunately, not all members of the cast were able to deliver their lines with the expected confidence and necessary clarity and this was exacerbated by the uneven volume of their microphones. This author had difficulty following the details of the first half of the play and relied on the notes on the whiteboard to keep up. 

These challenges aside, the latter half of the production became gripping drama, as the deadline loomed nearer for the characters. The audience was on the edge of their seats as the characters raced to the finish line to make the crucial decision of who would finally receive the heart.

The God Committee is a piercing exploration of the tensions among the personal, professional, and political in the valuation of human life. This was the INK Project MNL’s first production and it was a valiant attempt to balance the interplay of medicine, money, and morality among characters grappling with their own personal tragedies in a compelling play that does not last long enough to become too preachy or dull.

Ultimately, The God Committee does not provide easy answers but instead, opens up a profound conversation about humanity that will linger in the audience’s minds and hearts long after they leave the theater.


Tickets: Php 350.00 - Php 500.00 
Show Dates:  February 5 ‘23
Venue: Empty Stomach BGC, 2/F Fort Pointe Bldg., Fort Strip, 28th St. cor. 7th Ave, Taguig
Running Time:  Approx. 1 hour and 15 minutes 
Credits:  Kiefer Sison (Director, Lights and Sound Designer), Mischa Velasco (Associate Director), Chaguz Oca (Stage Manager), Ayce Gelilio (Associate Stage Manager), Meryl Faith Uyboco (Graphics, Lights Operator), Jerome Izon (Poster Designer), Elisha Feraro (Ticketing Officer), Kim Balasabas (External Relations), Yvonne Gabrielle Russell (Production Manager), Cha Crisostomo (Technical Director), Anna Tan (Set Designer), Darren Vasquez (Score Composer), Carlos Siongco (Wig and Facial Hair Stylist/Provider)
Cast: Timothy Racho, Yvonne Gabrielle Russell, Darren Vasquez, Hannah Marasigan, Cha Crisostomo, Anna Tan, Jerome Izon
Company: The INK Project MNL
About the Author /


A polyglot passionate about the arts, Camille’s dream role is to be a peasant in the ensemble of Les Misérables. In the meantime, she contents herself by watching and writing about plays. Instagram: @craetions