With faith healing, miracle bacon and flying saucer holy communion, the play That Catholic Thing, which stars Deaf actor Alex Nowak, asks what is the true price of religion?
Everybody is looking for a sign, but with the monetary power and propaganda behind major religions are we left hallucinating?
Growing up in a devout Catholic household in Ireland, life has not been kind to Maurice and Louise, with an abusive mother and an absent father, the brother and sister begin to question the religion they have been indoctrinated into.
It is obvious, to Maurice at least, that a new religion is called for. Perhaps one that will allow him to perform miracles and heal the sick. He sets about creating one – With thousands of religions existing in the world, who’s to say this new religion isn’t the true one?
Written by Anne Bartram for Sky Blue Theatre, That Catholic Thing is a bold, comedic exploration of ceremonies, rites and religious beliefs and the lengths to which it can take apparently normal people.
Deaf actor, Alex Nowak plays the role of Len, a bubbly, hapless chap who gets dragged into the madness.
“I love my character, Len, he brings another layer of comedy to the play. It’s been such a joy to portray him. Len is deaf and is quite naive. He arrives at a house as he needs directions to a catholic church, but little does he know what’s in store for him once he steps inside and this ‘Buddhist’ woman locks him in!”
“It’s a play about religion, and how easily people can be drawn into believing such religious beliefs. There are thousands of religions across the globe, I read there’s approximately 4,200. This goes to show — which one do we believe?
I’ve been to Sri Lanka a few times (supporting the deaf community in the Southern Province) and I’ve seen some people being lured into believing that Buddhism is a world religion and that everyone should believe it. For me, it goes to show just how powerful religion can be and how it can entrap them.”
Speaking about the cast, Alex says:
“It has been extremely fantastic to be part of such a supportive ensemble cast. It’s been great to work with professional actors who have had lots of theatrical knowledge, and to learn from them. For me, it’s fascinating to see how the other actors work before the show starts; using different techniques to warm up and look after their voice. Especially since I’ve not been trained how to project and look after my voice, this has been a learning curve for me.”
“John Mitton (director), Anne Bartram (playwright) and the rest of the cast have all been smashing towards me and understanding my communication requirements during the rehearsals and performances. It’s been one of the most enjoyable acting jobs I’ve done in a while.”
On having Alex in the cast, director John Mitton said:
“Alex is a honest, warm, genuine and instinctive actor. It can be so rare to find someone like Alex in such an ego driven industry. I have had no difficulty working with Alex whatsoever, his lack of hearing has been of no issue at all. I know to be conscious of him reading my lips and occasionally he’ll ask me to repeat myself but in fairness I give the same note to some hearing actors at least ten times before they ‘hear’ it.”
That Catholic Thing is on every night till Sunday 17th July (apart from Monday 11th July) at Camden People’s Theatre.
*The play will be signed on Sunday 10th July at 5pm and Friday 15th July at 7:30pm. Book your tickets online here: https://www.cptheatre.co.uk/production/that-catholic-thing
Photos by Rah Petherbridge Photography
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
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