Take Me To ChurchFeb 19, 2018 10:15PM ● By Lamarr Fowlkes
Envision this: It’s Sunday morning at an American evangelical megachurch. A grand white cross shines majestically from its wall perch, illuminating the wooden floor below on which a pulpit is stationed. A full choir is present, rising to sing at intervals consistent with the end of sermons by church principals to an audience of the masses. For anyone who has ever attended a religious service, it’s a scene that has played out in society many times before. PlayMakers Repertory Company production of “The Christians” depicts how the very setting that brings people together, can just as easily tear them apart.
After Pastor Paul announces the church is finally out of debt and thus he no longer believes that hell is real, a silent tremor unsettles the congregation. As none are ready to speak their feelings on the matter, the lone voice to speak out is Associate Pastor Joshua as he earnestly expresses concern over the ungodly teachings the pastor is conveying. A divide between the two and their respective supporters develops causing several to leave and start their own place of worship. The governing board of the parent house of God is conflicted on how to weather the controversy and when a congregant puts forth her own doubts of the dubious nature of the church’s message and business dealings, the question of whether the church should operate as a business or as something beyond the imagination of the mortal mind. Coupled with the head Pastor’s own wife not supporting his vision of God’s word, his unraveling world becomes a lesson not about the nature of faith, but the ethical responsibility of providence.
Featuring no intermission, with a setting replicating both ambience and dialogue, there were times I felt I was at an actual church service (attending the show on a Sunday giving even more credence to the thought). Tough discussions and self-reflection kept me alert and even the faithless would find intrigue in this bold take.
“The Christians” is on stage through Saturday March 10th in the Paul Green Theatre at PlayMakers Repertory Company. Tickets are still available and may be acquired over the phone from the box office at (919) 962-7529 or online at http://https://playmakersrep.org/tickets-events/. Ticket prices range from $15-$48.