Next (Time I) Fall

Sarah and I went to see Geoffrey Nauffts’ Next Fall in Bethesda last week. The theme of the play is the clash of religious differences in a relationship. The specific case is a gay couple, one of whom is a young, idealistic, religious Christian, while the other is older, anti-religious, and extremely cynical.

Sarah had picked the show, so I knew a grand total of nothing about it before we arrived. When she told me the theme when we arrived, my heart sank a bit: Washington is an extremely secular area, and religion tends to be dealt with as an extremely harsh caricature is most of the modern theatre i’ve seen. Add to that the fact that it’s a gay couple, and I figured we were in for a few hours of beating up on religious strawmen.

Happily, my expectations were not met.

There are some of the same old tired arguments for and against Christianity were dredged up (in my opinion, the anti-arguments were a lot more tired), but viewed in the context of character development, they make sense. Of course they would have had some fights where those tired arguments were used – neither of their characters is supposed to be exceptional at argument, after all. The real center of the play was not the argument regarding who’s right: it was about the emotional conflict that their difference caused.

Nauffts did a masterful job holding this up from several perspectives – there were plenty of pointed anti-religious sentiments – but the thing that blew out my expectations was that he acknowledged the tremendous anti-religious bias which is rampant and endemic in some places. It’s fascinating see religion being treated as much of (or possibly more than) a “closet” issue than sexuality – and I certainly think that this reflects modern experience and sensibilities (in DC at least).

I was pleasantly surprised, and would give this play a strong recommendation. Definitely good work from the Round House.

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About thegameiam
I'm a network engineer, musician, and Orthodox Jew who opines on things which cross my path.

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