Photo by Don Kellogg

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Christians

Lucas Hnath just might have hit the nail squarely on the head with his new provocative and thought provoking work, The Christians now playing over at Playwrights Horizons.

Mr. Hnath was supposed to be a preacher but he felt too much weight of the souls of others on his back.  What he kept with him as he transitioned to a playwright instead was a keen ear for the preacher's sermon and the delivery of a message.

Andrew Garman (Pastor Paul) makes you truly believe he is a devout and earnest preacher. Joshua, the associate pastor (Larry Powell), takes some time to show his power but when he does in a 1:1 confrontation with Paul it's all guns blazing.  An unexpected and potent foil to Paul is Emily Donahoe (Jenny) a simple, common choir member who confronts his message with plain spoken yet biting words.

Words have meaning.  Words are translated and interpreted.  So many viewpoints.  So many opinions.  Who is right?  Is anyone wrong?  If you don't believe what I believe, can we survive together?  These and many other powerful issues are bright up and laid bare before the audience with tender, thoughtful, and intelligent dialogue.  There are many question.  And even more answers.

It's not very often that at the end of the play you really wished the playwright would come out and take a bow but this is one true exception.  His words were a certainly a palpable placeholder for his physical presence.