CHICAGO ( March 1, 2017 ) What would the USA look like if the extreme Christian right got everything they wanted? In this slightly alternate present just before the rapture, a Reverend President has eliminated the "fake news" and homosexuality is outlawed. A young family is torn apart when Mitch ( Adam Ston ), the breadwinner, loses his job and is arrested for not being able to pay his bills, while his pregnant wife, Louise ( Lauren Fisher ) is thrown into a hospital jail as the state takes ownership of her "fetus." Meanwhile, the couple's daughter, Nipper ( Bethany Schmieder ) is indoctrinated in various "Biblical" texts by a couple that run a gay conversion therapy camp.
Welcome to Our Christian Nation, a satirical two-act play written by Emmy award-winning writer and Second City instructor Joe Janes and directed by Andrea J. Dymond. Our Christian Nation is partially funded by a Part-Time Faculty Development Grant from Columbia College Chicago. Morgan Gold is stage manager and Jafei Pollitt is props/costume coordinator. Janes originally wrote the play for the Three Brothers Waukegan Theatre Festival, where it received a staged reading in 2015. Three Brothers Theatre produced the show for their festival in 2016.
Our Christian Nation runs at The Cornservatory, Chicago's long-standing improv & sketch comedy venue, at 4210 N. Lincoln Ave, on Fridays & Saturdays, March 25April 29, 2017 at 8 pm. Tickets are $20.
There are 40 characters performed by 15 actors in Our Christian Nation covering a wide range of story lessons that include: God creating the world ( but he rushed and is sorry about that cancer thing ), the founding fathers signing the Declaration of Independence along with Moses and help from a dinosaur, the Civil War occurring because God was mad at Lincoln, Goldilocks being an abortion-loving intruder, and Australia being as if England and Mississippi had a baby and left it in a dumpster. Entertaining as well as educational, Our Christian Nation takes place in a world Janes envisions as a kind of nightmare, i.e. in which the ultra Christian right wing get everything their hearts desire.
"I wrote the play because I was angry about the GOP and Tea Party's response to the Obama administration. I'm sad to report it is still pertinent today. Even more so," said Janes.
"Our Christian Nation is a world where children only get homeschool lessons with religious revisions, privatization is rampant, being poor is a crime, insurance is only for those who can afford it, women have very few rights, and conversion therapy camps are as normal as the boy scouts."
"Satire is the best weapon I know of to shed light on absurdities," said Janes.
Joe Janes is an Emmy award-winning writer who teaches comedy writing and improvisation at The Second City and in Columbia College's new Comedy Writing and Performance major. He has written for Jellyvision's video game series You Don't Know Jack and Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update. He has published three books, including 365 Sketches, 50 Plays and Seven Deadly Plays. Other full-length plays include Metaluna and the Science of the Mind Revue, A Hard Day's Journey into Night, OtherSchool and Always Never. He teaches his own weekend improvisational writing workshops and recently wrapped up a class he created at Second City called Satire in Action. His fake Twitter account is @futurepreztrump that he started over a year ago. He tried to warn you.
ANDREA J. DYMOND
A Chicago-based freelance director specializing in new work, Andrea J. Dymond has been a resident director at Victory Gardens Theater, where she directed 11 productions, including 7 world premieres. Selected Chicago credits include: Tree, Year Zero, Blue Door, Free Man of Color, Shoes, and I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document, Helen, and Keep a Song in Your Soul, which she directed and developed with the Grammy award-winning band Carolina Chocolate Drops. Most recently, Andrea directed A Lesson Before Dying by Clarence Brown, Shepsu Aahku's Softly Blue and Lynn Nottage's Mud River Stone. Andrea's experience includes research and production dramaturgy, directing at new works festivals nationally; serving as thesis play advisor for MFA playwrights at Carnegie Mellon; and directing at NNPN's MFA Playwrights Workshops at the Kennedy Center. Andrea teaches directing, collaboration, text analysis, acting and new play development at Columbia College Chicago, where she recently directed Blues for an Alabama Sky by Pearl Cleage and Euripides's Hecuba.
Our Christian Nation
All performances will be staged at Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln Ave
Preview: Friday, March 24, 2017, 8 pm ( Preview tickets are $10 with the code word Preview )
Show runs Fridays & Saturdays, 8 pm
March 25April 29, 2017
All tickets are $20
Tickets are available on Eventbrite.com or can be purchased ( cash only ) at the door.
For questions about tickets, email OurChristianNation@gmail.com or call ( 773 ) 531-1792.
All shows are BYOB.