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Loyola Presents The Christians

Loyola press release - September 12, 2017

Lucas Hnath’s award-winning Broadway play poses challenging theological and ethical questions

Loyola Presents premieres a rousing performance this month of The Christians, a critically acclaimed drama by award-winning playwright Lucas Hnath. Currently one of the most-produced scripts in the nation, The Christians makes its New Orleans premiere to kick off the university’s 2017-2018 theatre season, which is themed “Seeking Truth.” In keeping with that theme, the timely and provocative play poses philosophical and theological questions troubling contemporary society.

Directed by C. Patrick Gendusa, Lucas Hnath’s The Christians centers around Pastor Paul, who started his conservative Christian church ten years ago in a modest storefront. Now it houses thousands, with a coffee shop in the lobby and a baptismal font as big as a swimming pool. But Paul, however, is about to preach a sermon that will shake the foundation of his congregation’s beliefs. Staged as a church service and backed by a live choir, The Christians is both epic and unexpectedly intimate, an unflinching look at religious faith in America — and its power to unite or divide.

Named a Top 10 Play by Time Magazine, The New York Times called the play “Mesmerizing” and described Hnath “as one of the brightest new voices of his generation.” Christianity Today said “Lucas Hnath’s The Christians gets complicated human and church life right.”

“What the play is really about is how people come to the decisions that they know the mind of God. And it doesn’t take sides; it just puts out philosophical and theological questions for the audience to consider about the way we may unconsciously interpret religious teachings in order to align with our own agendas,” said Laura Hope, Ph.D., associate professor of theatre arts and dance, chair of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, and artistic director of Loyola University Theatre. “One of the things we’d like to do is get the constructive conversation going in our community about things people are fighting about online, at work, in the political arena, and even over the family dinner table.”

The drama will be produced and performed by students in the Loyola University Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, including a live choir led by Loyola University Minister of Liturgy and Music Ken Weber. Following the performances, there will be opportunities for members of the production team and guest speakers to dialogue with the audience.

The Christians runs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday Sept. 29-30, and Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 5-7, as well as at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1 in Marquette Theatre at Loyola University New Orleans, 6363 St. Charles Ave. Free parking is available in Loyola’s West Road parking garage. Tickets are $10-15 and may be purchased online at presents.loyno.edu, by emailing tickets@loyno.edu or by calling the Loyola Box Office at (504) 865-2074.

Doors open 30 minutes prior to performance. The Box Office is located in the breezeway of the Communications/Music Complex on the corner of Calhoun St. and St. Charles Ave.