We missed this play last year, when it had a sold out run, so I was happy to have another chance to see it. The script has been updated slightly to recognize the events of the past year -Muslim bans, Nazi rallies, the Million Women March and the public disgrace of so many sexual predators.
A play that takes the format of a debate among four women on the subject “should women give up on organized religion? or even God?” A rabbi, a Muslim, an excommunicated Catholic nun and an atheist/lapsed Jew confront each other in a debate moderated by a man, of course. Blair Williams played that role in the performance we saw. The rabbi was Niki Landau, Bahareh Yaraghi was the Muslim, Barbara Gordon, the nun and Diane Flacks, who also wrote the play, took the role of the atheist.
If it were just a debate, we could have all stayed home and lived comfortably with our own biases. But this was a play, so it gave us insights into four fascinating women and the internal struggles each faces in addition to their religious struggles. The staging relied heavily on lighting to move the characters in and out of time and place, and the lighting designer and director are to be commended. They even managed to incorporate music and dancing and love making.
We were at a matinee performance, where the vast bulk of the audience were students from The Linden School. They were an attentive audience, but had trouble formulating questions in the talk back afterwards. I guess teenagers are still inarticulate in public.
I cannot imagine school groups from the southern or midwestern states being permitted to attend this play, with its questioning of God and its portrayal of lesbian lovemaking. Thank heavens we live in a city and a country where no one, not even a group of teen age girls, bats an eyelash.