“What I like about this play is the conflict is unique. Its not about domestic conflict completely. It’s obviously about the conflict of Hell, but inside of that there’s so much,” said Lauren Warhol Caldwell, Director of “The Christians” and Artistic Director of the Hippodrome Theatre. “The main thing I like about it is that there are no answers.”
The Christians is a critically-acclaimed drama by award-winning playwright Lucas Hnath. Currently one of the most-produced plays in the nation, The Christians is a thought-provoking and timely play which poses philosophical and theological questions about faith in America. The Hippodrome Theatre had a talkback Sunday after the 2 p.m. show with the director and the cast to continue the conversation with the audience members.
“I hope if 10 people walk out and I ask them how it was, I get 10 different answers,” Caldwell said.
The Christians centers around Pastor Paul, who started a church in a modest storefront. Over the past 10 years, he grew it into a mega-church with thousands of devoted parishioners and a newly paid-off mortgage. Everything changes one Sunday when Pastor Paul preaches a divisive sermon that shakes his congregation to the core. The Christians is both epic and unexpectedly intimate, an unflinching look at religious faith in America – and its power to unite or divide.
One audience member said, “The play doesn’t give answers. Faith isn’t answerable.”
When asked if “The Christians” is the same play it was on opening night, Warhol said, “Tonight’s show had a texture, richness, a pace that I dreamed about, the play was different. There’s a growth that happened. I commend them[the actors] and the Stage Manager [Amber Wilkerson] for allowing that growth.”
Renata Eastlick says the play comprises and struggles with, “how to be a good, kind and responsible community of people who love each other.” As in any play, each person who sees “The Christians” will have a different visceral reaction to it, Eastlick said.
An audience member said that there is a healthiness about the play — because of the respect the characters have for each other.
“The fact that we’re all here, having this conversation, is optimistic,” one audience member pointed out.
Call the Hipp Box Office 352.375.4477 or visit thehipp.org for tickets.
Showtimes: Tues. 7 p.m. | Wed. 7 p.m. | Thurs. 7 p.m. | Fri. 8 p.m. | Sat. 5 & 8:30 p.m. | Sun. 2 p.m.