Arts & Culture

Local Playwright’s Houston Debut Involves Story Set In Cypress

The dark comedy blends humor and grief with an angst-ridden church youth group.

It’s been described as “Sesame Street Meets the Exorcist.” Robert Askins’ play, Hand to God takes place just northwest of Houston in the suburb of Cypress. It involves a sock puppet named Tyrone. But things get ugly when Tyrone becomes possessed by the devil.

“Every time that puppet opens his mouth, he says the worst things imaginable,” Askins explains. “And somehow it comes back around to making you laugh.”

Askins graduated high school from the Cy-Fair school district in 1999 and started getting serious about writing plays as a student at Baylor. Hand to God addresses issues of grief and lust and is set in the strict religious environment of small-town Texas. “It’s really important for me, in somebody trying to tell stories about the Texas that I grew up in – and the Cypress that I grew up in – to get it right… To tell it with both love and humor.” Askins says.

The play has already been shown on Broadway and been nominated for a Tony Award. “They asked me to come do this play and I’d seen Rob’s play in New York,” says Director Mark Shanahan. “I had some friends involved in that production and I loved it. I remember watching it and thinking, ‘Oh my god, this is outrageous.’”

Hand to God is onstage at the Alley Theatre through September 18th.

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Eddie Robinson

Eddie Robinson

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A native of Mississippi, Eddie started his radio career as a 10th grader, working as a music jock for a 100,000-Watt (Pop) FM station and a Country AM station simultaneously. While the state's governor nominated him for the U.S. Naval Academy, Eddie had an extreme passion for broadcast media, particularly...

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