What if the  religion you have been following for years  does not accept you as you are  as  you have changed ?Would you deny yourself and continue believing it or is it the religion which  has to change as you and many things in life have  changed with the  time ?

Canadian playwright Drew Pautz seeks the answer  in his provocative  play “Love the Sinner”  at National Theatre ,Cottesloe   which  has been  shown  since  4th May and will be on until  10th July.

Canadian playwright Drew Pautz's new provocative play "Love The Sinner" is at National Theatre until 10th July

Curtains open with a sad and rebellion African song  and we see   a theological  debate  amongst  an international group of church leaders at a hotel   in Africa  where they discuss  needs of Christian doctrine  which has to  change with the times. Michael(Jonathan Cullen), a British conference volunteer, who experiences a big change in himself  after having sex with a local porter Joseph(Fiston Barek) ,types quietly during the discussion .

In the second act Michael who is about  to return to England  has an argument with Joseph  following their sexual encounter as Joseph wants to leave Africa for better life in the UK. However  a married  man Michael  refuses  to help Joseph as he thinks he should return  to England and live with his wife  Shelly(Charlotte Randle)and have kids and maybe deny his real feelings  and pretend to be happy for the sake of his religion and expectations of the society. From this point to the end of the play Pautz individualizes the issue of change,  which was discussed at the conference ,that  human being can face and get restricted  by stubbornly unchangeable religion and values of society.

Desperation  of Joseph  forces him to try every way to  go to England  which  he straight forwardly expresses  and shouts at Michael during their argument   : “I want what you have. That is what I want.”Joseph’s burning desire for better life troubles Michael when he arrives in England which  in fact helps Michael bring out his true sexual  identity .

The play stimulates audiences imagination as it does not answer many questions like ; “How did Joseph  manage to come to England  despite the extreme poverty?, “Why is the conflict between  Michael and his wife not strongly expressed  in the play ?

While Pautz shocks audiences  by showing heterosexual  sex scene  in details ,which includes Michael and his wife ,he hesitates  to expose homosexual sex between Michael  and Joseph even though  it is the  main theme of the play. Poverty ,illegal immigration ,difference between poor and affluent nations  are also woven  in the play through the individuals’ lives .

The stage management of two hours and 17 minutes play, which is directed by Matthew Dunster,  is incredibly fast and creative.

Love The Sinner is Pautz’s second  staged play after his debut play   “Someone Else’s Shoes”  at Soho Theatre in 2007. “Gospel of Wealth” , “Poor Cousin”  are Canadian playwright’s other two well known plays beside the film “Everyone is Special”. Pautz  is also a selected  writer for  the final stage of Met Film Scheme.


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