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Theatre Review (Burbank): The Savannah Disputation by Evan Smith at The Colony Theatre

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The Savannah Disputation is a new play by Evan Smith and is having its Los Angeles premiere at the Colony Theatre in Burbank. Although I really didn’t care for the play, it was a fine production with a wonderful evocative set by Stephen Gifford.

The setting is Savannah, Georgia, and involves the unfolding events when a young Evangelical Christian (the lovely and charming Rebecca Mozo) comes to visit two older sisters who happen to be devout Catholics.

The multi-awarded Anne Gee Bryd is at her cranky best as Mary, the sister who wants none of it. When her sister (the dopey Margaret, played superbly by Bonnie Bailey Reed) lets the young girl in the house, all hell breaks loose.

Lots of accusations follow that either the Catholic or the Evangelical is wrong and will suffer the terrors of hell.

To settle the score, Mary invites an unsuspecting priest, the always intriguing Josh Clark and eventually the “disputation” goes to full bore. Father Murphy is loath to get involved (he says because he is afraid he might convert the young girl.

But eventually he puts his rather weighty opinion into the fray, causing even further chaos. Mary even tries to get excommunicated.

Perhaps you like religious diatribe but not since I was 10 and argued that the whole Moses story was bunk,  I have not been interested in the nitty gritty of organized religion. In fact the three groups represented in the play (Catholic, Evangelical, Southern) are, for me the roots of a lot that is wrong with this country.

As a result I really disliked the play and came away firm in my stand against organized religion and religious diatribes.

The Savannah Disputation will play at The Colony Theatre until July 8th.

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About Robert Machray

  • Alan Mandell

    I, too, disliked the play. I actually felt it was an argument in favor of atheism; It made me feel so comfortable with my atheism.
    The performances and the production were first rate, especially Mozo in a beautifully nuanced. performance. A difficult character to make believable.

  • flawednfaithful

    Wow! Just like I always thought. It’s really is much easier to believe nothing. That this is all just an accident. Faith is complex, takes guts and courage to admit you struggle with it and it ultimately leads us to love and something much greater than we are. I loved the play and people like these people who can finally admit they are flawed. They are what I feel is so right about so much of our country. Certainly as opposed to those who think they have all the answers in their belief of nothing.