The Christians

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REVIEW: ‘Christians’ examines all sides of spirituality

The play is a single 90-minute act, but loads an incredible amount of food for thought in that time. Every character throws out a balance of flaws and greatness and every one asks questions that guarantee you’ll go home talking about them.

Remove just one orb from the tightly packed box of marbles known as a church, and everything skitters into a new dynamic. It’s not always a stable dynamic, as  Pastor Paul, the central figure of “The Christians” at Gulfshore Playhouse, learns when he announces a doctrinal shift to his own bible-centric, charismatic-leaning congregation one Sunday.

The Lucas Hnath play pulls out one of the bigger biblical marbles to make its point, and soon everything is rolling around. It would be a mistake to say this play is only about religion, but it is about the aspects of life one’s spirituality affects — and reveals. For instance, there’s Pastor Paul’s staff, who have had his bombshell dropped on them at the main service on Sunday morning and whose own theological views just may not encompass his. There is his lopsided partnership with his wife, who is expected to lead the women’s Bible studies and smile dutifully during his sermons. There’s his apparent longtime disengagement from the board of elders, whose support he has not tended. There is the rift among his congregation over this revelation, and what it does to their relationships with each other.

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