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"Savannah Disputation” a Battle Royal Over Religion

Chaos ensues at the Academy Theatre as play examines faith and theology with sharp humor

There aren’t many subjects that can stir up folk’s feelings like religion. The mere mention of faith and salvation can flame a debate into a hot mess. That said, there’s nothing like humor to smooth things over.

The funny, fast-paced play “The Savannah Disputation” at the Academy Theatre dares to ask theological questions that most of us would never bring up in polite company.

The Off-Broadway hit by Evan Smith brings humor and wit to the arguments in a no-holds barred kind of way. The fun begins when a pretty, young Pentecostal missionary makes an evangelical visit to the home of two Catholic sisters.

From the moment Melissa (Katie Grace Morton) pops the question, “Are you saved?” theological fireworks explode, sparking doubt in two spinsters, Mary (Jane Bass) and Margaret (Josie Burgon Lawson) who until now have been comfortable with their faith.

To defend themselves from the zeal of Melissa’s fundamentalist
proclamations and pamphlets, the sisters invite their parish priest, Father Murphy (Whit Davies) to dinner in the hope he will come to their aid. But they are soon disappointed in his refusal to engage in the debate.

Snappy, stinging dialogue ensues. ‘Catholics are idol worshippers,’ Melissa tells them. If you aren’t “saved” you will “go to hell.” 

The more the perky evangelist talks, the more Margaret - shy and
self effacing - begins to doubt her faith.

Mary, unhappy and defensive, admonishes her sister. “If you’re nice to them, they just keep coming back. They’re like cats.”

Directed by Daniel Carter Brown, the play explores the weighty issues of faith and salvation with humor and doubt. The play runs July 21-31 at the Academy Theatre.  

Art Shots

“The Story of God,” July 21, 23, 28 and 30 at 10
p.m. at the Academy Theatre. This sketch comedy, written and directed by Daniel Carter Brown, presents well known stories from the Bible through a comedic lens. Starring Kati Grace Morton, Jenny Holden, Claire Rigsby, Chris Rushing, John Stephen King and Richard Blair. Brown who is also artistic director for Onion Man’s annual collection of short plays. Tickets are $9.99 online through Brown Paper Tickets and $12 at the door.   

Magician Evan Reynolds will amaze audiences with his skill on Saturday mornings at the Academy Theatre. “Evan is not only an amazing magician, but phenomenal with kids and families,” said Robert Drake, Academy artistic director. “This is not to be missed.” July 23rd to September 3rd at 11a.m. at the Academy Theatre. 404-474-8332. Tickets can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets.

The Great American Trailer Park Musical extended through July 23, Onstage Atlanta, 2597 N. Decatur Rd. New tenant Pippi, the stripper comes between the Dr. Phil-loving, agoraphobic Jeannie and her toll booth collector husband the storm begins to brew. Directed by DeWayne Morgan, Music Director by Jonathan Sparks, and Choreography by Colleen Gaenssley. 

Oakhurst Arts and Music Festival, Artist call for 14th
Annual Oakhurst Arts and Music Festival October 8, 10am - 7pm. For information and an application, visit the Oakhurst Arts and Music Festival.

Avondale Arts Alliance is gearing up for AutumnFest. The
event features an artist’s market of local and regional artists and craftsmen in all mediums. Visit Avondale Alerts to download an application. To publicize the AutumnFest Oct. 15-16 the Avondale Arts Alliance is sponsoring a poster contest. Avondale artists and Avondale Arts Alliance members are encouraged to submit an original piece of art for the first signature AutumnFest poster. The winner's
poster will be used to publicize AutumnFest and will be available for purchase during the festival. Deadline for submissions is August 15, 2011.

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