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Syracuse Stage Presents Acclaimed New American Play, “The Christians “

[Lucas] Hnath is one of the brightest new voices of his generation.”
– THE NEW YORK TIMES

A play that people of faiths of all stripes can engage with on a meaningful level.” – NPR

 

 

(Syracuse, NY) – One of the most talked about new plays in American theatre comes to Syracuse when Syracuse Stage presents Lucas Hnath’s critically acclaimed The Christians, April 6 – 24, in the Archbold Theatre at the Syracuse Stage/SU Drama Complex, 820 E. Genesee St.

Since its premiere at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at the famed Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Christians has been produced at numerous theatres including Playwrights Horizons in New York. The New York Times called it one of the best plays of the season and called playwright Hnath one of the brightest new voices of his generation.

Set in a large, contemporary, non-denominational Christian church, The Christians is performed with lively theatricality that emulates a Sunday service. The actors use hand-held microphones throughout and much of the performance has the rhythm and feel of a sermon. A live choir, under the direction of composer Michael Keck, sings gospel songs. The choir at Syracuse Stage is made up of local members of the community.

Larry Powell and Andrew Garman in The Christians at the 38th Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Photo by Michael Brosilow-683x1024
Larry Powell and Andrew Garman in The Christians at the 38th Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Photo by Michael Brosilow

The substance of The Christians concerns the impact of a decision by the congregation’s popular pastor to announce a change of heart and mind concerning a matter of doctrine. The decision has unexpected and unintended consequences for the pastor, his family, and the congregation. Throughout, playwright Hnath steadfastly avoids taking sides.  His concern is not to make a determination of right or wrong, but rather to explore the widening divide that makes communication and understanding increasingly difficult.

“I have a powerful urge to communicate with you, but I feel there is an insurmountable distance between us,” the pastor, named Paul, says at one point.

Producing artistic director Tim Bond directs the Syracuse Stage production. He believes that Hnath’s observations could be applied to any number of subjects that create rifts between people. Hnath has chosen religion as his subject to contextualize the action and to prompt an examination about “our deepest and, often, most noble desires and motivations and yearnings,” as a review in Christianity Today noted.

This production marks Bond’s final directorial effort as Syracuse Stages producing artistic director. In July, he moves to the University of Washington in Seattle where he joins the theatre faculty as a full professor. In many ways, The Christians is a fitting capstone to his nine-year tenure. It is a play that encourages community and invites people of all faiths, believers and non-believers, to try to overcome the seemingly insurmountable divides evident in so many aspects of the contemporary world.

Lucas Hnath grew up in a Christian household in Orlando, Florida. During his childhood, he expected to become a preacher. He attended college at New York University, where he studied pre-med before switching to dramatic writing. He went on to earn both a BFA and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from the university. Hnath now teaches as part of the dramatic writing faculty at the university. His previous works include Isaac’s Eye, Death Tax, and Red Speedo. For The Christians, Hnath has received the Kesselring Prize and the Steinberg/ACTA New Play Award, among other awards.

Tickets are available at syracusestage.org, and at the Box Office, 443-3275 (Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and two hours before curtain). Syracuse Stage Logo small

SPECIAL EVENTS – FREE FOR TICKET HOLDERS

Apr. 8                   Opening Night Party

Join the cast for a post-show celebration with live music, food, drinks, and good times. Featuring live music by The MG3 Jazz Organ Trio.

 

Apr. 10                 Prologue at 1 p.m.

An intimate, 20-minute pre-show discussion with the actors 1 hour before curtain. Bring your questions.

Apr. 14 Inspirational Happy Hour at 6 p.m.

Enjoy treats from Biscotti’s bakery while you create your own inspirational gift with Lydia J of Johnson Camera & Studio to take home with you. Half-priced drinks from the bar including our signature drink, “Celebration”.

Apr. 16 Prologue at 2 p.m.

An intimate, 20-minute pre-show discussion with the actors 1 hour before curtain. Bring your questions.

ASL Interpreted Performance at 3 p.m. for patrons who are deaf

 

Apr. 17                 Interfaith Panel Discussion at 1 p.m.

Experience a discussion among leaders of diverse faiths engaged in challenging questions about their own spirituality before 2 p.m. curtain. Syracuse Stage and Interfaith Works present this panel discussion inspired by the groundbreaking and enlightening Dinner Dialogue Series.

 

Apr. 17                 Actor Talkback

                                Actor Q&A following this 7 p.m. Sunday performance

 

Apr. 20 Wednesday @ 1 Lecture by Gail Hamner

Lecture at 1 p.m. in the Sutton Pavilion, before the 2 p.m. matinee performance. “What Price Universal Salvation?: The Christians and the Debt Economy of Redemption”

  1. Gail Hamner is Professor of Religion and Affiliated Faculty both in Women’s and Gender Studies and in the English Department’s Film and Screen Studies at Syracuse University.

Open Captioning at 2 p.m. Performance for patrons who are hard of hearing or deaf

Apr. 21 Prologue at 6:30 p.m.

An intimate, 20-minute pre-show discussion with the actors 1 hour before curtain. Bring your questions.

 

Apr. 23       Audio Described Performance at 3 p.m. for blind or visually impaired patrons

Apr. 24    Open Captioning at 2 p.m. Performance for patrons who are hard of hearing or deaf

LOBBY EXHIBITS

Syracuse Stage’s Lobby will welcome patrons with an interactive display where they can share their own beliefs and consider thoughtful questions related to their own experiences with faith. The space will be decorated with inspirational quotes on faith from famous and historical figures.

Sutton Pavilion Gallery Space

Winter at the Zoo Photo Exhibit 2016

A collection of contest winning photos from Central New York community members will premiere in the Sutton Pavilion Gallery during the run of The Christians. Patrons will enjoy images of the Winter at the Zoo Photo Contest from our partners at Rosamond Gifford Zoo, including Syracuse Stage’s sponsored category “Best Action Shot”.

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A Celebration of Black Icons in Dance

Community Folk Art Center 805 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY, United States

Join Classical Dance Trailblazer, Charles Haislah, The Creative Arts Academy, and CFAC-DanceLab for an evening of captivating performances and dance history. This event is free and open to the community!

Free and open to the community

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