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‘The Christians’ a Must See at Actor’s Express

2017 September 25

If “The Christians” is not the best performance I’ve ever seen at Actor’s Express, it’s certainly one of the best. The script, set and acting are outstanding.

Inside this megachurch where Pastor Paul (Brian Kurlander) preaches a sermon, which begins with “Where we are today.” The church has just paid off its debts stemming from its enormous building and parking lot. He segues into a heart-wrenching story about love and acceptance, and the religious message is unlike any ever before, rankling some staff and congregants.

The stage where the pastors preach looks like the set of a televangelist. Sitting close to the pulpit are Pastor Paul’s wife (Kathleen Wattis Kettrey), Associate Pastor Joshua (Enoch King) and a church Elder (Greta M. Glenn). I feel like I’m in church, but the play does not feel preachy at all. When Associate Pastor Joshua (Enoch King) says, “Please bow your heads and pray,” I feel like doing it.

Pastor Paul’s sermon splinters the church. Associate Pastor Joshua, board member Elder (Greta M. Glenn) and choir member Jenny (Sarah Newby Halicks) all challenge his reasoning. His wife questions his intentions. Conflict abounds, but it never feels gratuitous, and all the while Pastor Paul stays as calm, kind and reasonable as a wise old sage.

The set, by Isabel & Moriah Curley-Clay, makes you feel like you’re right there in church with beautiful stained glass windows and an enormous cross nearly as tall as the building.

Directed by Freddie Ashley, written by Lucas Hnath, “The Christians” runs through Oct. 15 at Actor’s Express.

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