I'm a crazy woman.
The Christians Mark Taper Forum Written by Lucas Hnath, a promising new voice for the American theater raised an evangelical Christian and groomed to become a pastor himself, this is an arrestingly multilayered, exceedingly controversial, urgently topical new play.
Hnath goes far deeper than portraying the clash germinating within the belief structure guiding one particular fundamentalist Protestant denomination; he contemplates the destructive core at the heart of all organized religion that destroys lives and shreds relationships as it pretends to be sanctified and non-judgmental.
Each Sunday, worshipful devotees eager to tithe their incomes to the cause fill the spectacularly contemporary and oddly soulless facility.
Evil, he realizes, instead reflects humanity itself in all its vast brutality, its rampant dysfunction, and its warped collective sense of entitlement. He suddenly sees humanity as the real devil and ours as a species able to bring suffering upon one another with numerous acts of inhumanity happening around us every day.
After a post-sermon debate that seems shortsighted on the part of both men, some 50 members decide to leave along with Joshua and form their own congregation. Behind the pulpit stands a full choir under the direction of organist Scott Anthony delivering powerful gospel ballads meant to accentuate the completely manufactured piety of the place.
One of the most brilliant of conceits here is the continuous use of corded hand microphones to amplify the entire dialogue of the play. I can even have a scene between the pastor and his wife at home, but if the scene is being played in the form of a church service and on mic, it occupies two spaces at once.
It occupies the private space and then also the public space. There is not a private life in this play, which I think is true for pastors. No one wins this debate. Rather, the play is meant to be interpreted in individual ways by people with so many opposing viewpoints.
Above all, it goes far beyond an argument that might only be interesting to people of faith—and of similar faith at that. The real revelation to be unearthed at the heart of The Christians is the bold examination of the injurious nature of blind faith as it dominates our desperate need to believe in something, no matter how based on ancient mythology it obviously may be, and to expose the twisted nature of religion through the generations that has crushed independent thought as it has attempted to unite.
The Troubies are best known for their annual parodies of classic holiday stories, selling out Falcon Theatre every December for some 15 seasons. Everything runs like clockwork here as the audience sits with mouths agape at the rampant silliness of it all, most of those gathered thrilled not to be that one woman sitting in the front row whose snorts of appreciative laughter became the brunt of myriad jokes throughout the evening.
But the acting is so superb that the songs seem to be intensely personal confessions on which the audience is eavesdropping. And so the comedic and improbable tales become insights into the heart. The musical, with book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows based on stories and characters of Damon Runyon, is set during Prohibition and centers on New York City gamblers and the women who love them.
Its score is joyous, every song a classic, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. Here the songs are orchestrated simply, often on solo piano, by music director Doug Peck, so the storytelling shines through even the most familiar of these familiar songs.
On a sort of Vaudevillian set, with a lighted frame surrounding a Moorish tile back wall, she intermittently places foot-high models of Manhattan to indicate a street scene, and when characters fly to Havana, a tiny airplane scoots above the stage on a string. The craps game of course takes place in a murky underground cavern, reached by a stories-high ladder, but the sole element making it work is the lighting design, by T.
Costuming, by Mara Blumenfeld, is at best serviceable, but the suits for the men confusingly seem to span several eras.
That dance number quickly reveals that the chorus is not built of enough adept dancers choreographed by Daniel Pelzig. One exception is a grey-suited man in the front line, who has physical skills plus that extra burst of verve that make the real dancer. Gardiner can act, too.
Fortunately so can the other three leads here. Sky Masterson, the highest roller of them all, gets a fully invested portrayal by Jeremy Peter Johnson. Playing straitlaced missionary Sarah Brown, Kate Hurster has a rather thin singing voice, but she, too, conveys more than ample emotion with it.
The multiracial cast—Gardiner is African-American, Eugene Ma who plays the craps game venue owner is Asian-American, and other non-WASPs are among the secondary characters—may or may not be historically accurate, but here the blend works just fine. For Lilly and Steven Corryn Cummins and Lucas Near-Verbrugghe —a young couple relocating to Manhattan after trying to make a home together in Los Angeles—that initial apprehension is exacerbated by something many of us are still in the process of comprehending in its full-frontal glory: But the creepy guy on the other side is a needy, obnoxiously overfriendly loser with terminal halitosis, named Mark Tim Cummings.
And when they realize Mark knows everything about them and their lives from trolling Facebook and Twitter, the threat becomes even more unsettling, if not bordering on truly scary. And after they realize that he probably heard them talking about what a sad weirdo he appeared to be when he walked into their apartment to introduce himself as they emerged from their showers in less-than-appropriate host and hostess wear, they are a little unnerved when he again shows up at their door, offering a plate of home-baked cookies as a housewarming gift.
Cummings amazingly finds something in his character that makes one wonder if the majority of the red flags that go up as Lilly and Steven try to discourage a connection with their ever-smiling, often charmingly funny, and self-deprecating pursuer are mostly products of their own imaginations.
His performance in this role, written so intrinsically filled with traps that could swallow up lesser actors, is the stuff that made Peter Lorre in M or Tony Perkins in Psycho keep viewers up at night.
Abramowitz Diana Mann is a devoted mother, a hardworking wife, and, need we add, Jewish. Her daughter is clearly talented, as Mrs. Abramowitz learns when the drama teacher Mr.
How could a mother resist? The play may seem slight.50 Imagination and the Arts in C.
S. Lewis demonstrated elsewhere that the Chronicles, intentionally or uncon- sciously, echo and parallelMere Christianity,which Lewis was revis- ing for republication at the time hewaswriting the early Chronicles.7 The Chronicles, read in order of publication, develop a sequential presentation of Christian.
The Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal is a great reading guide that helped Liz and me to read through and understand Mere Christianity. The journal covers the Preface and four “books” of the text.
I don’t know about you, but I usually skip prefaces! I read this one and it was helpful to know Lewis’ stance on many worldview issues. The enthusiastic response to the primary sources (boxed documents) led us to evaluate the content of each document carefully and add new documents throughout the text, including a new feature called Opposing Viewpoints, which presents a comparison of two or three primary sources in order to facilitate student analysis of historical documents.
I'm going to Seattle tomorrow morning. I'm going to be getting a physical for a job I hope to get. Don't ask me why I have to go to Seattle to get the physical--that's just what my travel orders state. Planned outage: 10am (AEST) Wednesday 14 November. The outage is expected to only last a couple of minutes however the Trove newspaper zone will be unavailable .
Archives The Christians Mark Taper Forum as actors drag on a mere pair of flimsy cardboard trees to represent it, it’s a “cold, creepy, and confusing place, kinda like a Donald Trump rally.” and their owners, treat the aged.
Slyer messages concern class distinctions, morality, and mortality. Christianity probably figures.