A Message from Our Fearless Leader
Every season at Epic, we like to take a few big swings.
Sometimes it’s a play with big ideas.
Sometimes it’s a production in an unconventional location.
Sometimes it’s a playwright who has a lot to ask of their audience.
In “The Christians,” it’s all three.
We’ve reunited the production team behind last year’s “Red Speedo” for another story of a conflicted protagonist told in a new venue, including the brilliant playwright Lucas Hnath.
This time around, we’re excited to be at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County to tell the story of Pastor Paul, the man at the helm of a mega-church whose crisis of faith will lead him to risk everything he’s built to pursue a new truth.
“The Christians” has a title that could go many ways. When I say it to audiences, they usually take a step back before I can even explain what it’s about. It’s not uncommon to find plays that seek to mock or smear religious institutions, but this play does something very unexpected.
It looks at the nature of faith, redemption, and forgiveness in ways I’ve never seen presented onstage. Because the play isn’t about convincing you not to believe what you believe, but rather, to think about why you believe it, and how strongly.
In a season built around the idea of conviction, it’s easily the one that leans into it the hardest. It asks us whether we choose our beliefs, or they choose us.
Without giving too much away, the driving question of this play is all about what’s waiting for us in the next life, and what we have to do to get there. The characters in this play have a relationship to their faith that many of us might find hard to understand whether we believe we’re “religious” or not.
When we work on plays, we’re constantly reminding ourselves of the given circumstances--not just who these people are, but where they live, what their daily lives are like, how much money they have in their bank account, what they can afford to lose. It’s those circumstances that show us that while we may find common ground with people who seem to be nothing like us--we still have a lot to learn.
I’m so grateful to UUCSC for allowing us to present this show in their space. While they are leagues away from the proudly capitalist behemoth that Pastor Paul runs, we felt like this was a wonderful opportunity to frame the play in an environment outside of a theater--even though, as you’ll see in the play, a mega-church and a theater aren’t that different after all.