Wars, terrorism, hurricanes, mass shootings, overt racism, violent demonstrations, earthquakes… Throughout time, mankind has endured a seemingly endless run of tragedy and turmoil.  Who could blame us if we simply gave up?  Yet, we don’t.  Somehow, through it all we endure, believing in something-that it will get better, that life is worth living, that there will be a reward for us somewhere, sometime.  Faith is what causes us to face each day and survive through whatever life can throw at us.

Yet what is Faith?  It’s what we hold onto in the absence of proof. It can take many forms-faith in ourselves, faith in others, faith in a greater power, faith in the future.  Faith is the central theme of Bluff City Theater’s 4th full season that begins in February, 2018.

BCT Executive Director Joe Anderson says 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.  He stresses that, while religion obviously 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 says.  “Those who have followed our work 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.  While most of the plays do touch on religion in some way, they are still very entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time.”

2018 Season Descriptions

The Sunset Limited by Cormac McCarthy (February 15-24, 2018)  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”  an Academy-Award-winning film, Cormac McCarthy is one of America’s most significant authors.  The Sunset Limited was adapted into an HBO film starring Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson.  Directed by BCT newcomer Alex Freeman.

Becoming Dr. Ruth by Mark St. Germain (March 22-March 31, 2018)   While everyone knows Dr. Ruth Westheimer as the famous sex therapist, few know her full story.  From fleeing the Nazi’s 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 24-May 31, 2018) Set in the 1950’s, 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 stirring adaptation of a modern classic presents a heartbreaking and triumphant vision of what it means to be an artist.  Directed by Jennifer Stewart (2017 Emily-The Musical)

Trees Die Standing Tall by Alejandro Casona  (American Premiere-adapted from the Spanish by Lia Beeson) (Jun 28-Jul 7, 2018)  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 our 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 ( 2017-The Glass Menagerie)

The Cotton Patch Gospel by Tom Key and Russell Treyz with music by Harry Chapin (based on The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John by Clarence Jordan) July 26-Aug 4, 2018  This “Greatest Story Ever Retold” is presented in a setting of rural Georgia with country music songs, the final and perhaps best work of Harry Chapin. As the 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.

Season subscriptions for 2018 are on sale now.  Regularly priced at $115 for all five productions, the first 200 Subscribers can lock in savings of just $99 for a limited time only!

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