Faith is the central theme of Bluff City Theater’s fourth full season that begins in February 2018.
BCT Executive Director Joe Anderson said that he chose the theme of faith because there is a rich selection of theatrical material that explores the concept in a variety of ways. In announcing the 2018 season, he stressed that while religion plays a central role in many people’s tenet of faith, it is not the only thing that sustains us. Consequently, the season’s offerings explore both religious and secular themes.
“I don’t want audiences to confuse the theme of faith with religion,” Anderson said. “Those who have followed our work will know that we want to engage our audiences in a dialogue. The time just seemed right to explore this theme in 2018. We succeed best when you’re still thinking about something you saw days earlier, so while most of the plays do touch on religion in some way, they are all very entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time.”
Next season’s shows are:
“The Sunset Limited”
By Cormac McCarthy
Feb. 15 to 24
Black is a former convict who became an evangelical Christian in prison. White is a university professor and an atheist. One morning, White decides to end his life by jumping in front of a train — the Sunset Limited. Black, in the right (or wrong) place at the right time, saves his life. Feeling responsible for him, Black takes White back to his tenement in Harlem, where the men engage in a spirited discussion about life, religion and the rights of man. Best known for his novel “No Place for Old Men” which became an Academy Award-winning film, Cormac McCarthy is one of America’s most prolific and significant authors. “The Sunset Limited” was adapted into an HBO film starring Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson.
Directed by Alex Freeman.
“Becoming Dr. Ruth”
By Mark St. Germain
March 22 to 31
While everyone knows Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the famous sex therapist, few know her full story. From fleeing the Nazis as part of the Kindertransport and joining the Haganah in Israel as a sniper, to coming to America as a single mother, “Becoming Dr. Ruth” is a story of struggle, honesty and faith in oneself. Bluff City Theater audiences will know Mark St. Germain as the author of 2016’s breakaway hit “Best of Enemies.” This production stars Susie Wall, last seen at Bluff City Theater as Alice B. Toklas in “Gertrude Stein and a Companion” in a role she made her own at the New Jewish Theater in St. Louis.
“My Name is Asher Lev”
By Aaron Posner, adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok
May 31 to June 9
Set in the 1950s, this is the story of a young Jewish painter torn between his Hassidic upbringing and his desperate need to fulfill his artistic promise. When his artistic genius threatens to destroy his relationship with his parents and community, young Asher realizes he must make a difficult choice between art and faith. This adaptation of a modern classic presents a heartbreaking and triumphant vision of what it means to be an artist.
Directed by Jennifer Stewart.
“Trees Die Standing Tall”
By Alejandro Casona, American premiere, adapted from the Spanish by Lia Beeson
June 28 to July 7
A comedy in three acts, this is the story of one woman’s faith in her grandson, even while facing the undeniable. Alejandro Casona was a Spanish-Argentinian playwright, considered one of the major talents of his era. This production was originally staged by BCT’s sister theater, Talk is Free Theater in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. While playing, in many ways, like a traditional British farce, “Trees Die Standing Tall” is a clever and funny narrative that belies its structure to explore themes and ideas that will stay with you long after you leave the theater.
Directed by Sydnie Grosberg Ronga.
“The Cotton Patch Gospel”
By Tom Key and Russell Treyz, music by Harry Chapin, based on “The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John” by Clarence Jordan
July 26 to Aug. 4
This “Greatest Story Ever Retold” is set in rural Georgia and features country music songs, the final and perhaps best work of Harry Chapin. As “Gospel” begins, they sing that “Somethin’s a-brewin’ in Gainesville.” Herod is the mayor of Atlanta and, inevitably, Christ is lynched by local thugs only to rise again. This is a spirited and rocking musical production featuring a bluegrass orchestra and supported by the BCT Young Company. “The Cotton Patch Gospel” will be performed environmentally.
Directed by Alan Knoll.
Season subscriptions for 2018 are available for sale now at eventshannibal.com by searching 2018 Subscriptions. Regularly priced at $115 for all five productions, early bird subscribers can lock in the discounted price of $99 until Dec. 1.
Subscriptions also may be purchased by calling 573-719-3226 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.