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PlayMakers Rep Will Present The Christians, a Provocative New Play by Lucas Hnath, on Feb. 1-March 10 in UNC’s Paul Green Theatre

Joey Collins and Nemuna Ceesay star as Pastor Paul and Elizabeth (photo by HuthPhoto)

Joey Collins and Nemuna Ceesay star as Pastor Paul and Elizabeth (photo by HuthPhoto)

PlayMakers Repertory Company will present The Christians, a provocative new play written by 2017 Tony Award® for Best Play nominee Lucas Hnath (A Doll’s House, Part 2) and directed by Triad Stage of Greensboro, NC’s founding artistic director, Preston Lane, who is making his PlayMakers directorial debut. UNC’s professional-theater-in-residence will preview The Christians on Feb. 1, 6, and 9; officially open it at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10th, and run it — in rotating repertory with Molière’s Tartuffe — on Feb. 13, 14, 17, 18, 22-24, 27, and 28 and March 3, 4, and 8-10 in the Paul Green Theatre in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art.

According to PlayMakers Rep:

The Christians takes its audience into the world of Pastor Paul [played by Broadway and Off-Broadway veteran Joey Collins], the charismatic leader of a thriving megachurch. He preaches a sermon with the power to shake the foundations of both the church, and his own life. In this award-winning drama, playwright [Lucas] Hnath takes a critical, but compassionate look at the topic of faith and following today, and how who we follow shapes what we believe.

“Each performance will be backed by a live choir, from throughout the Triangle area.”

Christine Mirzayan stars as Jenny in <em>The Christians</em> (photo by HuthPhoto)

Christine Mirzayan stars as Jenny in The Christians (photo by HuthPhoto)

PRC adds:

“‘As a Christian artist myself, I want to be asking questions that help a society behave differently, in a way that we can be kind and understanding of each other,’ says [Preston] Lane …. ‘Faith for me isn’t a rigid set of beliefs, so I was drawn to this play because Hnath presents us with five absolutely faithful people with five different, valid, and equally compelling positions. My job is to honor the conversations of these characters, and to let them ask questions of the audience that I hope people will take home with them, and talk about the next day, the next week.’

“‘I was excited to bring back the rotating repertory this season, and have audiences explore two very different viewpoints on faith and following, both flash points for our country right now,’ said PlayMakers producing artistic director Vivienne Benesch. ‘The Christians is a powerful foil to Molière’s classic farce about religious zeal. There’s no ‘hero’ in this play, no guidestar of what’s right or wrong, but instead a meaningful conversation not just between the characters, but hopefully with the audience.'”

Joey Collins (left) and Jeffrey Blair Cornell star as Pastor Paul and Elder Jay (photo by HuthPhoto)

Joey Collins (left) and Jeffrey Blair Cornell star as Pastor Paul and Elder Jay (photo by HuthPhoto)

Also according to PlayMakers Rep:

The Christians features Joey Collins as Pastor (Broadway’s The Glass Menagerie [with Jessica Lange] and Suddenly Last Summer at Berkeley Rep) and Nemuna Cessay as Pastor’s Wife, (Great Expectations at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The Unfortunates at Joe’s Pub at The Public) in their PlayMakers debuts. Both will double in central roles in Molière’s Tartuffe.

The Christians also features PlayMakers company members Alex Givens as Associate Pastor (Sense and Sensibility), Jeffrey Blair Cornell as Elder (Count, My Fair Lady), and Christine Mirzayan as Congregant (The Cake, The Crucible).”

PlayMakers Repertory Company says:

“The creative team of The Christians includes: Preston Lane (director), Alexis Distler (scenic designer), Robin Vest (costume designer), Oliver Wason (lighting designer), Palmer Hefferan (sound designer), [Dominic Abbenante (media designer),] Jacqueline E. Lawton (dramaturg), Charles K. Bayang (stage manager), and Jennifer Caster (assistant stage manager).

“[WARNING:] The Christians is recommended for audiences 14 and older.

The cast of PRC's production of <em>The Christians</em> includes (from left) Alex Givens as Associate Pastor Joshua, Nemuna Ceesay as Elizabeth, and Joey Collins as Pastor Paul (photo by HuthPhoto)

The cast of PlayMakers Rep’s production of The Christians includes (from left) Alex Givens as Associate Pastor Joshua, Nemuna Ceesay as Elizabeth, and Joey Collins as Pastor Paul (photo by HuthPhoto)

SECOND OPINION: Jan. 31st Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Byron Woods: https://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/the-christians/Event?oid=5396311.

PlayMakers Repertory Company presents THE CHRISTIANS at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1, 6, and 9 Previews; 2 p.m. Feb. 10 Official Opening; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13, 14, and 17; 2 p.m. Feb. 18; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 and 23; 2 p.m. Feb. 24; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28 and March 3; 2 p.m. March 4; 7:30 p.m. March 8 and 9; 2 p.m. March 10 in the Paul Green Theatre in the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art, 150 Country Club Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

TICKETS: $15-$48 ($10 UNC students and $12 other college students), with discounts for UNC faculty and staff and U.S. military personnel.

BOX OFFICE: 919-962-PLAY, prcboxoffice@unc.edu, or https://tickets.playmakersrep.org/.

GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919-962-PLAY (7529), prcboxoffice@unc.edu, or http://www.playmakersrep.org/box-office/groups-and-special-events/.

SHOWS: http://www.playmakersrep.org/show/the-christians/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/2010723539204360/.

2017-18 SEASON: https://playmakersrep.org/season/2017-2018-season/

PRESENTER: http://www.playmakersrep.org/, https://www.facebook.com/playmakersrep, https://twitter.com/playmakersrep, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayMakers_Repertory_Company, and http://www.youtube.com/user/PlayMakersRep.

PRC BLOG (Page to Stage): http://playmakersrep.blogspot.com/.

VENUE: http://playmakersrep.org/aboutus/paulgreen.

DIRECTIONS/PARKING: http://playmakersrep.org/visitorinfo.

NOTE 1: All shows are wheelchair accessible, and assistive-listening devices will be available at all performances.

NOTE 2: There will be a gala official-opening performance, starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10th.

NOTE 3: There will be an All-Access Performance, with sign-language interpretation and audio description by Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13th.

NOTE 4: There will be FREE post-show discussions, with members of the cast and creative team, following the show’s 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14th, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18th, performances.

NOTE 5: There will be an Open Captioning Performance at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24th (for more information, click here).

NOTE 6: The North Carolina Psychoanalytic Society will sponsor a FREE post-show Mindplay psychoanalytic discussions on “Who is our sister/brother?,” led by David Moore, PhD, LPC-S and John K. Tisdale, D.Min., after the show’s 2 p.m. Sunday, March 4th, performance.

OTHER LINKS:

The Christians (2014 Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actors Theatre of Louisville and 2015 Off-Broadway drama): https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=5017 (Dramatists Play Service, Inc.), http://www.lortel.org/Archives/Production/5977 (Internet Off-Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucas_Hnath#The_Christians (Wikipedia).

The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).

Study Guide: https://www.denvercenter.org/docs/default-source/Show-Study-Guides/2016-17/Christians_Study_Guide_V3_lr.pdf (Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company).

Lucas Hnath (Orlando, FL-born playwright): http://www.playmakersrep.org/artists/lucas-hnath/ (PlayMakers Rep bio), http://newdramatists.org/lucas-hnath (New Dramatists bio), http://www.lortel.org/Archives/CreditableEntity/45758 (Internet Off-Broadway Database), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/lucas-hnath-507444 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm9034912/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucas_Hnath (Wikipedia).

Preston Lane (Greensboro, NC director and founding artistic director of Triad Stage in Greensboro): http://www.playmakersrep.org/artists/preston-lane/ (PlayMakers Rep bio), https://www.setc.org/preston-lane/ (Southeastern Theatre Conference, Inc. bio), and https://www.facebook.com/preston.lane.37 (Facebook page).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing robertm748@aol.com and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail robertm748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

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