The Religion Thing OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Jimmy Ryan
  • The Religion Thing
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • NEW YORK THEATRE REVIEW

  • TALKIN' BWAY

Opening Night:
June 18, 2014
Closing:
August 1, 2014

Theater: Cell Theatre / 338 W 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011

Synopsis: 

Mo and Brian are a picture-perfect DC couple: they’re smart, they’re witty, and they have a beautifully remodeled kitchen. But when Mo’s best friend Patti announces she’s found Jesus and is putting her own career on hold, Mo must take a closer look at the harder truths surrounding her own marriage. A comedy about relationships, faith, and the fine line between compromise and regret.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Religion Thing

    Couples Taking On ‘I Believe’ After ‘I Do’ ‘The Religion Thing,’ From Project Y, at Cell Theater

    Daniel M. Gold

    July 3, 2014: At the start of The Religion Thing, Mo and Brian, a married couple in their 30s living the high-velocity life of Washington lawyers and lobbyists, are having Mo’s best friend since college, Patti, and her latest man, Jeff, over for dinner. It’s been six, maybe eight, months since the women have talked, let alone seen each other, and Patti has a lot to tell. For one thing, Patti (Danielle O’Farrell) and Jeff (Andrew William Smith) have just gotten married themselves. For another, they met only recently in an evangelical Christian megachurch, where Patti, a former wild child — remember those spring breaks? — has become a born-again member. For a third, Patti, who just made partner at a high-powered D.C. law firm, is leaving her job to prepare for motherhood. That’s just the start of the plot twists the playwright, Renee Calarco, amply supplies in her comedy-drama about two couples trying to balance the work-family equation. Mo (Katharine McLeod) has wanted to get pregnant for years, but Brian (Jamie Geiger) has been reluctant. Following the evening, he introduces a new variable: Since he’s Jewish, and she’s Roman Catholic, how would they raise their child? That never mattered before, Mo argues. Well, it does now, Brian says.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF The Religion Thing

    The Religion Thing: Theater review

    Diane Snyder

    July 1, 2014: “We met at church.” That announcement provokes laughter from Mo (Katharine McLeod) and Brian (Jamie Geiger), a D.C. couple who for some time haven’t thought about their own religions (he’s Jewish, she’s Catholic). It’s made by Jeff (Andrew W. Smith), the new husband of Mo’s best friend, Patti (Danielle O’Farrell), and is one of several shockers that upend longtime relationships in The Religion Thing, Renee Calarco’s incisive, provocative play that comes to town courtesy of Project Y Theatre. Like Jeff, Patti has become a born-again, megachurch-attending Christian, and now she’s giving up her successful legal career for parenthood. That rekindles Mo’s yearnings for a baby, and religion quickly becomes a prickly, primal matter.

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  • NEW YORK THEATRE REVIEW REVIEW OF The Religion Thing

    The Religion Thing as presented by Project Y Theatre Company

    Ryan Hudak

    July 3, 2014: Never talk to your friends about religion. Religion is a bottomless topic of conversation, full of contradictions and beauty, but it’s a visceral one as well. Calarco takes this fact and produces a touching work that is deceptively simple and completely heartbreaking. The play's subject matter could easily go wrong, but Calarco presents some truly thought provoking questions. Her characters are far from simple. Over drinks, Patti reveals to her friends Brian and Mo that she has found religion, forming a divide with the couple. As the debate heats up, each person, including Patti’s new boyfriend Jeff, reveals secrets that their partner can no longer ignore. Each scene lures the audience into a false sense of security before dropping an emotional bomb, and ends in a climax that propells the story forward. If the show stumbles at all, it’s with a series of fantastical dreams in which each character imagines a conversation with someone from their past. Curran Connor plays these multiple roles to hilarious effect, especially a nun that Mo knew. At the same time though, these scenes feel extraneous in an otherwise sound structure.

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  • TALKIN' BROADWAY REVIEW OF The Religion Thing

    The Religion Thing Theatre Review

    Howard Miller

    July 2, 2014: Religion is complicated. On the one hand, it can be a source of comfort and communal support; on the other, a bastion of conflict, where “I believe” takes the leap from strongly held opinion to entrenched certitude and absolutism. Playwright Renee Calarco examines both sides through the experiences of two married couples in her savvy and often sharply comic The Religion Thing, a production of Project Y Theatre Company, now on view at The Cell. For the recently married Patti (Danielle O’Farrell) and Jeff (Andrew William Smith), their embrace of Evangelical Christianity was triggered by a sincere — some might say desperate — effort to break away from the demons of their respective pasts. They perceive their adopted faith as a rock-solid foundation where they can count on the Lord to “lead us not into temptation” in order to get them through each day. The second couple is Patti’s friend Mo (Katharine McLeod), a “lapsed Catholic,” and Brian (Jamie Geiger), a non-observant Jew. For Mo and Brian, matters of religion, which had never been particularly important in their marriage, take on increasing significance as the scapegoat for their troubled relationship when they consider the possibility of becoming parents.

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