ensemble theatre · independent · Ages 12+ · United States of America

world premiere
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June 17, 2017 certified reviewer

What I liked

The actors like the brilliant script make us feel they know far more than they reveal. That’s a feeling few works achieve when taking on religious questions. This play has the heart of an insider—it feels like a confession, a reaching for something worth believing in. Its catharsis comes not through a building up, but through an emptying out.

What I didn't like

The endings of a few important lines were lost when the otherwise highly talented actors ran out of breath or turned away from the audience. That, and the critical word is pronounced “homo-oo-si-a,” (5 syllables), but pedantry aside the writing and the performances remain strong, and memorable.

My overall impression

I’m a working pastor with a special place in my heart for art like this. Nicaea is theologically transgressive in the best kind of way. Much like other works that fit this bill—Aronofsky’s Noah, Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, or Jim Crace’s Quarantine—Aurand’s Nicaea plugs into a foundational controversy we religious types think we understand, unspools just enough fiction to wire in the uninitiated, puts an uninsulated cable in our hands and turns on the power.
I left the theater in a daze, unsure if what I’d just been caught up in was a desecrating sacrilege or a call to revival.
You will miss The Fringe this year if you miss Nicaea. This is art that believes in something—or, at least, that is reaching for something to believe in. The questions are the right ones. The use of scripture is masterful. Nicaea channels a power that can stop hearts, and restart them.

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