Thursday, September 28, 2017

the christians | why this matters - mariam barry's full text

A little while ago, we shared actress and apprentice Mariam Barry's insights on why THE CHRISTIANS matters to her as a play. She had a lot more to say than we could fit in the video, though. Here are her words, in their entirety.

What I find the most compelling about THE CHRISTIANS is how boldly it depicts a community in crisis. Lucas Hnath's play is truly an edgy and thought-provoking piece that presents us with a church at the cusp of a divide. In this compelling one-act we bear witness to how loyalties break, and are realigned, as members of the congregation dispute on particular point of theology. Questions of how we maintain dialogue when we stand on seemingly opposite sides is hence beautifully echoed throughout this play.

And this question is, today, more relevant than ever as we navigate a polarizing political climate as global citizens. Yet, with that being said, what I find the most fascinating to watch in this play is where characters decided to draw their lines in the sand - of seeing imperfect people listening to their bottom-lines being breached and acting against it. As a young woman of the congregation Jenny bravely risks her own position within her church community by publicly challenging Pastor Paul from a position of absolute faith in her God.

And in that trust she finds her voice, and her strength, as she becomes an empowered decision-maker for the first time in her life. She resultantly questions the highest figure of male authority in her space for better guidance as her spiritual mentor. She asserts her standard and speaks her truth -- despite the very real possibility of this shaking the foundation of all that she knows, because her relationship with God is the most important. That absolute conviction -- and commitment -- to what you know is right, and the need to vocalize this truth, is an experience I intimately connect with as a woman of colour. You must unlearn silence from your tongue, and make a practice of speaking your truth because your voice is needed. It. is. needed. It matters. As it is the surest way to re-claim your space -- by reminding them that you have always been in the room.

And that, to this day keeps me mesmerized, as there is nothing quite as stunning as seeing a young woman of colour unapologetically stand in her truth.

-Mariam Barry

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

the christians | the set

THE CHRISTIANS takes place in an enormous megachurch, with a congregation of thousands. Re-creating the feel of a vast space in our intimate alley theatre - and reflecting the themes of schism and tension in the play - was an exciting challenge for set designer Stancil Campbell.

Designer Stancil Campbell outlines his vision for the set.

"The scenery tells the story of The Christians through imagery," says Campbell.

"The inspired stained window at centre symbolizes both the tongues of fire at Pentecost and the fires of Hell. These two fires fracture Paul's church and each splinter group clings to their own version of God and Scripture -- which of two Crucifixes will each person follow? Just as the small boy burns to death in the literal fire, Pastor Paul heads toward his own end by following that burning "fire of the Holy Spirit" that consumes him. Paul is that boy!"

The hand-painted mandala reflects both the
fires of the Pentecost and the sparks of Hell.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

the christians | the music

THE CHRISTIANS features a live choir, and the music is incredible! Here's a sample of the joyful noise you'll hear taking over our little theatre. Thank you to Choir Director Lonnie Delisle for coordinating an amazing choir for us!

the christians | responses

"An amazing and thoughtful expression of the dilemma of what differing beliefs and opinions can do to the unity of a church – or any organization. To agree to disagree and still stay united is not easy, but necessary. The depiction of the human struggle with this was brilliant." | Mae Runions, Audience Response

"The performances are superb. Pastor Paul is clearly troubled and Ron Reed projects the character’s turmoil, even his uncertainty about his own motives. Why did he wait until the mortgage was paid to advise the congregation about his change of heart? Does he really believe it when he says, “God had not yet told me to give that sermon”? This is a deeply conflicted man and Reed moves inexorably from Paul’s initial certainty to miserable uncertainty. If there’s a Hell, he’s in it." | Jo Ledingham

What To Watch - One of eight new productions across Canada recommended in the Globe & Mail's fall theatre preview

"GO SEE THIS PLAY: It made my stomach hurt, it was so good. I had to keep reminding myself it was on stage--not least because it brought back all the very human pain invoked by the schism in my own beloved church a few years ago. Yet it is anything but didactic, and takes some surprising, extraordinarily human turns. Excellent theatre by any measure." Karen Cooper, audience member

"The main thrust of The Christians is about what happens when our fundamental beliefs are challenged. What price are we willing to pay for those beliefs?" | Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

"The church setting animates director Sarah Rodgers’s production. The opening moments are exuberance itself: a 15-person choir sings and sways to some rousing hymns, and congregants hang on Pastor Paul’s sermon and its slick visual projections." | Kathleen Oliver, The Georgia Straight

"Unbelievable intimacy and theatre. Yes I felt like the very fault in society today was being plumbed, the challenge of conservatives and liberals, whigs and tories, republican and democrat, change or no change, truth or untruth. The whole dance of the present was happening there before us in the words and acting on stage. I loved Lucas Hnath’s writing as it touched the soul of church and society today." | William Hay, Audience Member and Blogger

"Ron Reed as the pastor in the eye of the storm delivers a nuanced performance... Allan Morgan’s immense talent was under-used as a church elder. Tre Cotton is certainly convincing as the charismatic Pastor Joshua." | John Jane, Review Vancouver

“Truly magnificent! One of the top five PT shows ever.” Peter Schuler, subscriber since 1997

Monday, September 25, 2017

the christians | meet lucas hnath

Lucas Hnath, playwright of THE CHRISTIANS, is one of the latest hot names in the New York theatre scene, with his latest play A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 currently playing on Broadway. Here's some background info on Hnath.

Image Source: Playwrights Horizon Magazine

Originally, Hnath intended to study medicine, but after a short stint as a pre-med student, he transferred into the dramatic writing program at NYU. Since then he has written seven plays, including THE CHRISTIANS, winning a number of awards.

Here are some excerpts from his interview with Playwrights Horizon Magazine (read the whole thing here.)

On his studies:

"The funny thing is my first year I was getting ready for a pre-med track. I had not gone to NYU for Tisch. I’d gone there because I wanted to be in New York, but I was interested in science. My better scores were always in science. I thought writing was a bit tedious. I didn’t think I was very good with words. But then when I was in New York I discovered Caryl Churchill here, I discovered Richard Foreman, and I tipped over and transferred into Dramatic Writing."

About experimentation on stage:

"I mean, an experiment is something you can do live onstage. And I’ve often thought that plays are constructed out of live experiments and negotiations and trials. Like, those to me feel like very dramatic situations. So, I think it may be part of the reason my plays either have a little bit of a feeling of a court trial, or something happening in an operating theater. And The Christians very much is built as a public debate."

On microphones in THE CHRISTIANS:

"But the mics also give us another layer of dramatic action. I’d jokingly say that the play is nothing more than a set of four or five theological arguments. Of course it’s quite a bit more than that, but it is, at its core, built on a couple of debates. And these arguments are quite dense. It’s a play in which, often, the most dramatic action is for someone to decide to say something. “Saying” or “deciding to say” can often be overlooked as significant. The prop of the microphone actually gives us a means to make visible the action of speaking or decision or refusing to say something. We can all see the moment where a character leans into a microphone to speak. And we can all see the hesitation to do so. And we can tell the difference between leaning in to a microphone to speak versus yanking the microphone from its stand to speak. There’s a difference in intention and intensity."

On the most common trap when people write about religion:

"It’s jumping to the assumption that for the person who has particularly fundamentalist beliefs, let’s say, that they are stupid or that they are acting first and foremost out of hatred. And not really considering the factor that from a fundamentalist point of view, in many cases there are very severe stakes attached to being wrong. That 'if I am doing something that is actually against the word of God, then I’m going to be punished.' And I think people forget about that. There are enormous stakes attached: eternal damnation."

Friday, September 22, 2017

the christians | artist talkback

Tonight is artist talkback night for THE CHRISTIANS! Hang out after the show to chat with the cast about their experience with the play.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

the christians | bc culture days

There's still space left in our Culture Days promotion! Do you have a friend who has never attended live theatre before? Here's their chance!

More info here!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

the christians | $20 wednesdays

This season we're trying something new: $20 Wednesdays! It's important to us to have a variety of pricing options for our patrons, and we hope you'll take advantage of this opportunity for a cheaper ticket. (If you need other cheap ticket options, check out our ticket accessibility options.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

the christians | theatre club panel

The heart of THE CHRISTIANS is about a community that finds itself divided on a fundamental belief: the existence of hell. For our Theatre Club conversation, we have invited three pastors with nuanced and different views on the question of hell to join us and lead a discussion with the audience about the story. Here are the speakers.

Reverend Karl Przywala (Holy Trinity Anglican Church)

The Reverend Karl Przywala (pronounced PR-VOW-ER) was born in Birmingham, England in 1963; having spent his thirties living in Australia, he is now spending his fifties in Canada. He was at Durham University in the 1980s and trained for ordination whilst in Australia. He was formerly a Church of England Lay Reader and so knows the value of lay ministry. Karl finds art, music, film and literature can be both relaxing and stimulating; recently, he’s been drawn toward reading and watching historical and crime fiction.

Karl sees the challenge and privilege of being entrusted with leadership at Holy Trinity as “the highlight of my ministry to date.” Biblical preaching and teaching has always been at the heart of his ministry and his prayer for Holy Trinity Anglican Church is that we will continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2nd Peter 3:18).

Reverend Beth Hayward (Canadian Memorial United Church)

Rev. Beth Hayward is Lead Minister at Canadian Memorial United Church in Vancouver; a growing church in the liberal Christian tradition. Her work there is to support the spiritual growth of a diverse community of seekers. Whether it's shedding new light on dusty biblical texts, celebrating the birth of a baby or walking with congregants as they move towards death, Rev. Beth describes her work as rich, challenging and fulfilling.

Rev. Beth grew up in on the east coast and attributes her vocation to the fact that the good folks of her church growing you always encouraged her relentless questions. She has never been satisfied with cut and dry interpretations of Christianity and relishes in delving into the big questions of faith. She is delighted to be talking about the existence of Hel

Pastor Steve Mirkovich (Oakridge Adventist Church)

Steve Mirkovich loves living in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada where he’s happy to pastor at the Oakridge Adventist Church, an urban church that is growing, fresh, and vibrant. He’s totally sold out to the people of Vancouver and leaning into a local and authentic church expression. He’s the father of two amazing boys, Logan and Nolan. In his free time, he loves reading, plant-based cooking, guitar, and snowboarding.

Monday, September 18, 2017

the christians | opening night photos

THE CHRISTIANS is open, and with it, our season! Congratulations to the incredible cast and crew of this show, and thank you to everyone who came out to make this opening weekend spectacular. Here's some shots from our opening night reception.

Friday, September 15, 2017

sept 24 | trespass | dark glass theatre

Our friends at Dark Glass Theatre (bringing us RUINED in January) are holding a storytelling event called TRESPASS next weekend to mark the occasion and raise funds, including storytellers Tré Cotten (in THE CHRISTIANS) and Tom Pickett.

Come hear a powerful collection of stories, all inspired by the idea of forgiveness. Each story invites us on a journey of discovery, as the storyteller reveals a particular episode in their lives that changed them in some way. The stories might be touching, poignant, shocking, or funny but each one expands our perspective and deepens our understanding of the human experience. Food, fun, and fabulous music are also part of the plan!

Pacific Theatre
1440 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver
Sunday, September 24 at 7 pm
More info and tickets here

The stories are as diverse as the people who tell them, but each one is true, personal, and told from the heart. We have assembled an incredible line-up of powerful storytellers and musicians - Check it out!

Trespass Vancouver Storytellers and Musicians

Keenan Marchand
Melissa Oei
Kyle Jespersen
Mikaela Fuqua
Lisa Dook
Tre' Cotten
Leah Cameron
Allan Morgan
Lynn Szabo
Tom Pickett

the christians | photos

It's opening night for THE CHRISTIANS! We feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to open our season with this stunning and relevant play. Here's some shots from the show to give you a flavour of what's to come. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

the christians | theatre that matters

Actress and apprentice Mariam Barry shares about why THE CHRISTIANS matters to her.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

the christians | pay-what-you-can preview

It's almost time for our first show to open! But first comes the preview. Thursday night, be the first to see THE CHRISTIANS at our pay-what-you-can preview.

Lucas Hnath's daring drama The Christians digs deep into the makings of a schism.

Monday, September 11, 2017

the christians | video trailer

THE CHRISTIANS is a story full of questions, all centred around one issue: what happens when your are in a community that suddenly becomes divided down the lines of belief? Check out this fabulous trailer, made for us by Peter Carlone, highlighting this conflict.

Friday, September 08, 2017

the christians | meet the design team

It takes a village to raise a child, and putting on a show is something like raising a child. Here is the village of capable artists who are building the world of THE CHRISTIANS.

Sarah Rodgers (Director) - You've seen Sarah's work as the director of A CHRISTMAS CAROL: ON THE AIR, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE RADIO SHOW, and SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN, among others. We love her inventive imagination and truthful heart while directing.

Lonnie Delisle (Choir Director) - This is Lonnie's first time working with us, and he's bringing the sweet music to our show! A choir director for CHOIR, his music really lifts us up.

Lois Dawson (Stage Manager) - This production marks Lois' 20th show with us. Her first was DRIVING MISS DAISY, also directed by Sarah. Lois has been the backbone of some of our favourite shows.

Stancil Campbell (Set Designer) - Stancil's work has been a seen on the Pacific Theatre stage periodically, from as far back as MASTER HAROLD... AND THE BOYS in 1999, most recently doing the lighting design for ESPRESSO.

Itai Erdal (Lighting Designer) - While Itai has worked with Sarah Rodgers a number of times, we have only had him at Pacific Theatre twice so far. He worked as lighting designer for Sarah's knock-the-walls-out production of GODSPELL, and designed the stunning set and lights for JESUS HOPPED THE 'A' TRAIN.

Sydney Cavanagh (Costume Designer) - After a few years away, we are thrilled to have Sydney back! She has worked on some of our favourite shows including THE FOREIGNER, THE SEAFARER, and THE RAINMAKER.

Rick Colhoun (Sound Designer) - After years as a mainstay of the CHRISTMAS PRESENCE line up, Rick has become a regular sound designer for us. His past credits here include COMMON GRACE and A GOOD WAY OUT, and we always love his Tom Sellek headshots.

Julia Lank (Projection Designer) - Our new publicist came with a host of skills, including a background in graphic design! This is her first gig for the Pacific Theatre mainstage, although she has stage managed for our apprentices in the past.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

the christians | meet the cast

Meet the cast of THE CHRISTIANS! With a cast of almost entirely new faces to the PT stage, this play is particularly meaningful to us, as we couldn't be more excited to introduce you all to this incredible team of actors. To get things started, we asked them all why they were looking forward to this play.

Ron Reed: "It's breathtaking, dramatic, affecting... whatever you go into the show thinking, you'll think again."

Allan Morgan: "The opportunity to work on a piece that examines spirituality, religion and dogma in a human and real way, as well as an opportunity to work with Ron Reed."

Mariam Berry: "I'm thrilled to be exploring a text which centers faith as a driving force that both connects and divides."

Tré Cotten: "I'm thrilled about this show because it is not just a play about religion. It explores two different vantage points and it will leave the audience thinking."

Erin Ormond: "Lucas Hnath invites us into discussion within ourselves and with others who are in our inner and outer circle."

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

the christians | photos

Check out these stunning shots from Emily Cooper for THE CHRISTIANS! She captured the drama and relationships between the characters so beautifully.