Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga
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NOW PLAYING &
COMING SOON

COMING SOON
THE CHRISTIANS
ETC follows up its season opening production of SIDE SHOW, a musical that examined the freak in all of us, with a play that examines the faith in all of us. A relatively new play to hit the market, THE CHRISTIANS is a play about the pastor of a church, that started in a storefront and now finds itself as a megachurch, with thousands of members, a huge building, a debt paid off and a coffee shop in its lobby. This Pastor delivers a sermon that ends with an abrupt change in the philosophical and theological beliefs of this congregation he has shepherded. This change forces a schism and also forces personal reflection.

Director Garry Posey points out, “Christianity is such a complex ideal for me to begin with, I’m fascinated by the faithful devotion and fellowship, but I’m conflicted when ideology challenges what I understand about Christ’s teachings. THE CHRISTIANS, within the first few pages of the script, captures such a personal conflict and uses it as an inciting incident to affect change. And the result is both unexpected and completely understandable.” Hnath teaches at New York University and is a resident playwright at New Dramatists. His plays “RED SPEEDO” (about doping in the world of competitive athletics) and “THE CHRISTIANS” have both been awarded Obie Awards, during the 2017 theatre season his play “A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2” premiered on Broadway and currently his play “HILLARY AND CLINTON” is in previews.

“We have always wanted to present a play that addresses faith in an objective manner,” mentions Posey. “But the issue with most scripts written in that vein is that there is either a heavy dose of proselytizing or indoctrinating towards specific ideals or a highly melodramatic, sensationalized approach to a moral lesson. That isn’t the kind of theatre we like to present.” Known for its edgy approach, Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga does not feel it has a responsibility to dictate opinion nor does it align itself in that regards when selecting productions. “This play presents the potential issues of subscribing oneself to a particular individual who has been vested with a responsibility for not only his faith but an entire congregation’s. How does that power identify and define the pastor, and how does that faith and loyalty identify and define the congregants?”
  

Click here to see casting information for The Christians.

  1. APRIL 12th
    THE CHRISTIANS
    7:30 PM
    BARKING LEGS THEATRE, 1307 DODDS AVE, CHATTANOOGA, TN 37404
  2. APRIL 13th
    THE CHRISTIANS
    7:30 PM
    BARKING LEGS THEATRE, 1307 DODDS AVE, CHATTANOOGA, TN 37404
  3. APRIL 14th
    THE CHRISTIANS
    2:30 PM
    BARKING LEGS THEATRE, 1307 DODDS AVE, CHATTANOOGA, TN 37404
  4. APRIL 18th
    THE CHRISTIANS
    7:30 PM
    BARKING LEGS THEATRE, 1307 DODDS AVE, CHATTANOOGA, TN 37404
  5. APRIL 19th
    THE CHRISTIANS
    7:30 PM
    BARKING LEGS THEATRE, 1307 DODDS AVE, CHATTANOOGA, TN 37404
  6. APRIL 20th
    THE CHRISTIANS
    7:30 PM
    BARKING LEGS THEATRE, 1307 DODDS AVE, CHATTANOOGA, TN 37404
PREVIOUSLY AT ETC. . .​​
  
Kicking off the 2019 season, Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga will present the musical SIDE SHOW by Bill Russell and Henry Krieger. SIDE SHOW was a cult favorite, though short lived, musical from the 1996 season on Broadway. It follows the lives and loves of the famous Siamese Twins Daisy and Violet Hilton. The Hilton Twins, conjoined only by a link of flesh near the hips, were staples of the Side Show Circuit in Europe, Australia and America from their childhood. Their talents, along with several manipulative managers and wards, propelled them from the side show into vaudeville and then eventually into motion pictures. The musical, SIDE SHOW, takes a biographical perspective of the sisters’ rise to fame.

“On the surface, this is a simple show about the complex lives of these two women. But there’s a deeper message that is explored within the show that specifically appealed to me” mentions show director Garry Lee Posey. “As a society, there is a tendency to marginalize and push people to the fringe for one reason or another. I think its deeper than gender, race and sexual identity. It is almost as if everyone is a freak to someone, freakishly attractive or freakishly devout or freakishly loyal, and so on.” While the setting of the musical starts in the tents of the side show, we start to see how the sisters found ways, though not always easy, to assimilate into a society that wasn’t always welcoming.

Garry adds, “I watched a documentary about the sisters, called BOUND BY FLESH, and at the end of the documentary it described the last few years of Daisy’s and Violet’s lives. The tragic ending of their story, which isn’t really touched upon in text of the musical, I found to be both heartbreaking and inspiring.” The last manager of the twins booked them on a gig in North Carolina, an appearance and autograph signing at a screening of their film FREAKS. He abandoned them, penniless. They managed to find a job at a local supermarket in North Carolina where they continued to be an attraction for the locals, sharing their stories while weighing produce. While both succumbed to a serious flu epidemic, Daisy died a couple of days before Violet. After not showing up to work, the police were summoned and discovered the twins dead. “Imagining those hours of sitting alone, not able to move, sick with the flu and mourning the death of your conjoined twin, had a powerful impact me and gave new meaning to the show’s final number,” relays Posey.

As with most of their work, ETC has added its unique brand of storytelling to this production. “It will be the largest production we have attempted to date,” mentions senior producer Casey Keelen. With over 20 in the cast and an orchestra of 11, ETC is hoping to continue raising the bar for live theatrical experiences in the Chattanooga area. “We have made a commitment to contributing and enhancing the cultural landscape in Chattanooga, we want to continue making good on that commitment,” finished Keelen.

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