The Playgoer: Don't "Believe" in The Atheist

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Don't "Believe" in The Atheist

Hey, I love Campbell Scott. And he rarely, if ever, does theatre in NYC these days.

But I only wish The Atheist (at Culture Project) were a worthy vehicle for him. For those of you who've gone and seen it already, I'm sorry I couldn't warn you earlier.

You see I already reviewed it. In 2006! In a much lower-profile production.

Nevertheless NYT gave the (Irish) playwright the star treatment.

If you think Scott truly has redeemed this material, though, do pray tell! I just felt it was a perhaps talented foreign playwright cynically trying to "go American." And ending up with something tame and dated.


isaac butler said...

Hey Garrett,

Having seen it, would you say its treament of atheists and atheism is as stupid and offensive as the reviews I've read make it out to be? Is it really about a guy who, after determining there is no God decides to embrace a life of immorality?

Because if it is, what's amazing is that not one review of the play I've read calls the writer on this AAA horseshit. I guess its okay to deploy some stereotypes, even if they're thousands of years old...

Ethan Stanislawski said...

I saw the play at Williamstown this summer, and I actually loved it. Thought it was tough and harsh, but the key part of it was the earnestness that seeped through the production. Part of that was Scott's performance, but I'd give Noone more credit.

Playgoer said...

As I say in my review, Isaac, the play actually has little to do at all with atheism, per se. (And thus I think a very misleading title.) It's main significance is tying together the whole "Confessions of Augustine" parallel that underlies the whole premise.

Glad to hear your dissenting view, Ethan. Hey, if a fine actor like Scott found merit in the play, I guess it must have something. And I saw a very weak performance/production of it.

But what the hell the Culture Project sees as politically pertinent in this trashy tabloid tale is still beyond me. (Other than Campbell Scott's name on a marquee of course...)

isaac butler said...

Oh yeah, I didn't mean your review in the above comment, sorry about that Garrett.

And yet, I'm troubled by the fac tthat it's called THE ATHEIST instead of THE JOURNALIST. It leads me to suspect that as a writer Noone feels that there is a deeper connection between his character's atheist and his immoral actions than his play necessarily lets on. After all if it was caled THE JOURNALIST than we'd say "well yes, it's an indictment of journalism with Early as a stand in for journalists" or whateve.r But it's not. It's called "THE ATHEIST".

It's just troubling to me that a venue as progressive as The Culture Project wouldn't think that through.