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

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