THEATRE: Prod-Ing Play

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), April 23, 2004 | Go to article overview
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THEATRE: Prod-Ing Play


Byline: ROBIN GREER

When, in 1517, a German monk by the name of Martin Luther protested against the corrupt practices of the Roman Church at the cathedral in Wittenburgh, he got himself excommunicated.

So he set up his own church and began a protest movement driven by a desire for liberty, fear of sin, and fascination with scripture. These protesters, or Protestants, have been kicking hard ever since.

What are we protesting about? What have you got? Usually it's a good thing, but sometimes a zeal for liberty boils over into bigoted fundamentalism and then it all goes horribly wrong.

The average "Proud to be a Prod" T-shirt-wearer could probably not tell you why we are called Protestants let alone begin to explain theological premise. Today it's just tribes and names, which is sad because the true heritage of the European Protestant movement is a proud and rich one.

Light will be shed on the heritage of protestantism in Protestants, the eagerlyawaited new play from Ransom Production, who created the sensational Hurricane.

Running at the Old Museum Arts Centre from Wednesday, April 28, to Saturday, April 8, Protestants, featuring Paul Hickey, is a one-man show that focuses on the history and nature of Protestantism across the world, exploring the very personal and individual relationship between man and God.

It celebrates the idea of Protestant liberty, but also examines the price people sometimes have to pay for that liberty.

It is not specifically about Northern Ireland and does not serve up morality in simple Yes or No packages. What we will get in Protestants will be complex but, hopefully, entertaining and informing too.

The OMAC is running a programme of free events to complement Protestants, which will include art works, post show discussions, gallery talks and chat shows with local and international contributors.

A series of discussion events, titled Protestants: Discourse And Debate, kicks off on Friday, April 30, with a post-show discussion led by broadcaster and actor Ivan Little.

On Tuesday, May 4, the sharp-witted Beeb broadcaster Mark Carruthers hosts a similar event.

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