Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Written and directed by Ronan Noone
Performed by Georgia Lyman
Trigger warnings: “alternative fact” telling, domestic abuse, discussion of rape, invasion of intimate privacy, crooked politics
Review by Kitty Drexel
(Boston, MA) It’s as if Ronan Noone timed his production of The Atheist with Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative fact” BS on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Noone’s Atheist captures the distasteful spirit of dirty tactics to make the untrue plausible. Trump’s team is gaslighting its way into our heads. Noone shows us how.
Augustine Early (Georgia Lyman) is an unscrupulous, self-destructive, opportunist “journalist” determined to become Kardashian family famous. Her renunciation of God as a kid prompts her to attack celebrity status with sociopathic vehemence. She’s an irresponsible manipulator who takes joy from distorting the truth. Early “loves” Jenny who lives in an apartment behind Senator W’s mansion. The Senator has been recording Jenny without her knowledge. Early finds the camera, and strikes up a bargain with the Senator: share the video, and she won’t contact the media. Early is terrible at keeping her promises.
Lyman is imbues her repugnant character with winning charisma. Early is a thoroughly immoral person playing a long con on American journalism. Yet, we can’t bring ourselves to hate her as much as she deserves. Lyman’s storytelling is solid. She uses the stage well. We don’t miss having other human bodies on the stage during her two hours.
The script’s few problems stem from the limited cues the actor must rely on to tell this two-hour tale. The Atheist requires its actor to memorize the entirety of the show. Despite the TV, live camera feed, and other props on stage, Lyman wasn’t given any devices for cues aside from her own astute memory. It would be beneficial to an actor to utilize the busy, multimedia crowded set dressing for either crib sheets or production-related prompts. Fortunately, BPT’s production had dutiful stage manager Katherine Humbert on sight to give lines for Lyman if she needed them.
Please dress warmly. If other performances are anything like last night, the theater will be kept very cold.
The Atheist was originally written for a man. It shouldn’t matter who the part was written for, people are people, the show should still work. And it does. Ealy is a despicable, unlikable, depraved human being regardless of gender. Noone’s plot still captivates its audience like live reality TV. Or, you know, politics as usual. It’s not a play for everyone to enjoy, but it is thrilling, and all too relevant to today’s political climate.
we elected a thin skinned bigot to the office of the President dead set on turning our “democracy” into a fascist, totalitarian oligarchy dominated by the 1%. His plan to slash the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities is HERE. Trump is a monster. His policies, when he names them, are destructive. His narcissistic behavior is more so. Fight him. And, for the love of all that’s sacred, keep creating. If you need help, ask for it. Our existence is our resistance. May the force be with you. – KD
Sign the petition to protect the National Endowment HERE.
#blacklivesmatter #translivesmatter #brownlivesmatter #yellowlivesmatter #lgbtqialivesmatter #immigrantlivesmatter #muslimlivesmatter #disabledlivesmatter #theatreartsmatter #NODAPL