Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Quick Take - Morris talks The Christians

'The Christians', by Lucas Hnath, playing on our MainStage continues to garner international acclaim for its succinct ability to present complex and conflicting takes on a situation, all without sermonizing. Which is ironic, given it’s set in an American Mega-Church. The play moves quickly through the aftermath of a Pastor radically changing theological direction on a hot button issue. In the spirit of the script, we asked director Morris Ertman for some “succinct” thoughts on Rosebud’s production.

You can read this interview in a minute! Take a minute to check out why The Christians will make the most of your time.

Describe the play in one word:

In one sentence, what challenges you about the script?
Describing the challenge(s) in one sentence.

What’s a Bible verse that challenges you?
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.”

If this play weren’t called ‘The Christians’, what would you call it?
I’m no good at titles, but The Cost of Conviction. [Which] sounds more like a sermon title. There’s a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song with the following lyrics, written about the Kent State shootings in the 60s. It seems somehow appropriate.

Find the cost of freedom
Buried in the ground
Mother Earth will swallow you
Lay your body down.

There’s something about the spiritual journey of the people in this play that is contained in that lyric, if you replace “freedom” with “belief.”

If someone doesn’t go to church, why would/should they go to a show set in a church?
Because they can look at church with outside eyes, and not have to participate.

What’s a Bible verse you try and live your life by?
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

What’s your favorite zinger line from the script that isn’t a plot spoiler?
“It says that. It actually says that!”

Which role in the script do you identify with most?
(Pastor / Elder / Associate / Congregant / Spouse)
Pastor Paul

What’s a question that should be in everyone’s post-show discussion? (Either over drinks or on the ride home?)
What does personal conviction cost us, and is it worth it?

He did it! He actually did it! Morris Ertman, man of a multitude of inspiration, kept it to a minimum. It's a teaser taste for how much more’s in store with 'The Christians', playing now through October 28th. For more about the show, check out 'The Christians: not what you might be thinking' . For tickets and showtimes, visit www.rosebudtheatre.com

Monday, 11 September 2017

The Christians: Not what you might be thinking

"The Christians is a play about the pastor of a very very big church. And what happens when he... reveals to the congregation something that he has found out... that the Bible doesn't quite say something that we think it says. And then the reaction of the congregation - which is not exactly what you'd expect. And then what happens after that is also not exactly what you'd expect. And then what happens as a result of that is also not exactly what you'd expect... and the whole play just sort of tumbles forward." 
- Lucas Hnath, playwright
At a tight 80 minutes with not a word wasted, The Christians is an emotional and intellectual ride through politics, faith, and dissension in a contemporary charismatic mega-church. Though the plot hinges on a doctrinal deal-breaker, the church is simply the setting for a snowballing series of interactions stunning in their simplicity, complexity, and astounding ability to keep audiences guessing what happens next. 

Raised near Disneyworld, with no neighbors but a gun range across the street, playwright Lucas Hnath says his 'surreal' childhood prepared him for the stage. "Disneyworld was my first theatrical experience. It sort of informs everything that I write. I like it when plays feel like a ride." But through the twists and turns Hnath never quite lets on where his sympathies lie, not even in interviews. Instead, he confounds with competing arguments. "As long as your brain is searching for the answer, you're awake. Once you have the answer, you go to sleep," he argues.

The Christians premiered at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2014 and its 2015 New York production at Playwrights Horizons launched the play (and playwright) into the national spotlight. Critically appraised and widely produced across the United States, it has been embraced by secular and faith-based organizations alike. With a polarizing title, the play itself is anything but. The Christians concerns not only matters of faith, but questions of leadership, integrity, and unspoken rules for reconciliation. What happens when a man speaks what he believes, and shakes up not only his congregation, but the intricate framework of relationships his organization was built upon? Are beliefs a thing we hold on to in spite of the havoc they wreak, or is there room to hold other perspectives without losing our own?
"Church splits are Hell. This play about one isn't."
- Christianity Today

'The Christians' runs Sept 22 - Oct 28, and if you have any doubts about whether the show is right for you, it is. This play is a must-see and elegant portrayal of a fractured body of believers who keep searching for resolution. For tickets and more information, visit www.rosebudtheatre.com