The Religion Thing: In brief
Two married couples grapple with questions of faith and marriage in the New York premiere of Renee Calarco's dark comedy, directed by Douglas Hall for Project Y.
The Religion Thing: Theater review by Diane Snyder
“We met at church.” That announcement provokes laughter from Mo (Katharine McLeod) and Brian (Jamie Geiger), a D.C. couple who for some time haven’t thought about their own religions (he’s Jewish, she’s Catholic). It’s made by Jeff (Andrew W. Smith), the new husband of Mo’s best friend, Patti (Danielle O’Farrell), and is one of several shockers that upend longtime relationships in The Religion Thing, Renee Calarco’s incisive, provocative play that comes to town courtesy of Project Y Theatre.
Like Jeff, Patti has become a born-again, megachurch-attending Christian, and now she’s giving up her successful legal career for parenthood. That rekindles Mo’s yearnings for a baby, and religion quickly becomes a prickly, primal matter. Although the action slows when all four characters are visited by figures from their past (Curran Connor, doing quadruple duty), Douglas Hall’s production remains intimate and involving, thanks to a first-rate cast. The playwright is refreshingly thoughtful and respectful toward people struggling for self-awareness, and about a topic that often prompts diatribes or easy jokes. By the end, faith is still a question without an answer.—Theater review by Diane Snyder
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