By PAM HARBAUGH
Again, pounding that Humana Festival drum.
Theatre Mania has just tweeted that “The Christians” will be produced by Playwrights Horizons and the Centre Theatre Group. The play was originally commissioned by the Actors Theatre of Louisville, which produces the Humana Fest.
Keep an eye out for this drama. It’s written by Lucas Hnath, an Orlando native who’s made great strides as a playwright. Mr. Hnath is a unique voice who has won two ATCA Steinberg Awards, first for “Death Tax,” then for “The Christians.”
I’ve had a few chats with Mr. Hnath at the Humana. He’s a warm, engaging young man happy to discuss his works or those by others. For a story about him by Diep Tran of American Theatre magazine, click here.His play, “The Christians,” explores the notion of hell and goodness and divine truths. Its high concept conceit puts you into the congregation forcing the audience to break the fourth wall and become part of the inner turmoil.
Here’s a brief critique by my colleague, Bill Hirschman of FloridaTheaterOnStage.com http://www.floridatheateronstage.com/, who presented Mr. Hnath with the award: “The audience is thrust into a Sunday morning service in a well-heeled church with an affable, charismatic pastor. But the preacher suddenly advocates a profound departure from dogma, causing a huge rift in the congregation. This even-handed, compelling and theatrical work investigates belief on a personal and theological level. It asks deep moral and spiritual questions about doctrine, faith and belief without condescension and with verve and skill.”
Les Waters will direct (he directed the Humana production). Wisely, producers have cast Andrew Garman to reprise his role of the preacher.
It previews at Playwrights Horizons in New York City Aug. 28, opens Sept. 17 and runs to Oct. 11.
From there it will to the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and play Dec. 2 to Jan. 10 with opening night Dec. 13.