I’ve lived in Columbus for 30 years, but I keep learning interesting things about our fair city. This recurring experience always leaves me with mixed emotions — I’m glad I finally got clued in, but I also wish I’d been attentive enough to find out a lot sooner.
So it was last night, when Kish and I, along with Dr. Science and his lovely wife The Runner, went to see the Available Light Theatre performance of The Christians at one of the small studio venues at the Riffe Center. I’d never heard of Available Light Theatre before yesterday, but it turns out that next year they will celebrate their 10th anniversary. Shame on me! After watching last night’s performance, I’m glad they’re here.
The Christians is a play by Lucas Hnath, one of the up and coming new dramatists in America. It’s about the interplay of a pastor, his wife, an associate pastor, and a trustee and member of a rapidly growing Christian church who must deal with the aftermath of the pastor’s epiphany about the existence of hell, announced in a riveting sermon that begins the play. The play could be viewed as an odd entertainment choice for our foursome, since three of us aren’t churchgoers and the fourth is Catholic, but drama is drama — and this play at its core is about five people struggling with very basic issues about their faith and, in the case of the pastor and his wife, the bedrock underpinnings of their marriage.
It’s a challenging topic, but the play is one of the most even-handed presentations of different Christian beliefs I’ve seen, and the cast did a convincing job of presenting multi-faceted characters who are wrestling with core personal beliefs and issues. It was an interesting and thought-provoking play that kept Kish and me talking as we walked home. Unfortunately for those of you who haven’t seen it, last night’s performance was the last one in the play’s run.
Last night also marked the end of Available Light’s season, and as they were taking their bows the cast members announced that next year, to celebrate the troupe’s 10th anniversary, the performances will focus on Columbus. If you’re in town and you like theater, make a point to keep an eye out for the next season of Available Light Theatre.