Under the aegis of the world’s largest religion, power and hypocrisy threaten to silence the faithful. The world premiere of a moving new play by veteran public radio host Steve Julian explores the price paid by victims of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. “What Kind of God?” is currently performing at the Lillian Theatre.
“What Kind of God?” is the first play in a trilogy Julian is writing as part of a new social awareness campaign he calls “Silence No One.”
“I’ve found myself silenced by my higher-ups – first, as editor of my high school paper by the very priest whose molestation inspired this play, and again during the time I worked as a police officer,” explains Julian. “This is my chance to give voice to others who were far more powerless in the face of authority than I ever was.”
“What Kind of God?” began as a provocative one-act entitled “Altarcations” that premiered during the 2012 Hollywood Fringe Festival as a workshop project.
Julian spent the next year developing it through the playwrights group at Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA – adding characters, nuance and depth, and refining the story. Renamed “What Kind of God?,” this new, more fully realized version uses dark humor to underpin serious subjects and themes, including teen sexual identity and religious faith vs. belief.
“Early in my life, I was on my way to becoming a priest,” says director Aaron Lyons. “This is a challenging subject and Steve approaches it truthfully.”
At the Lillian, Robert Keasler returns to the role of Father Bart he created for “Altarcations” last year. Also in the cast are Brett Donaldson, Emily Faris and Katherine McGehee. Playwright Julian takes on the role of Bishop Michael.
Julian attended an all-boy’s Catholic high school. Although he has spent most of his professional career in radio broadcasting (not counting five years as a police officer), he continues to be active in theater and has written numerous one-act plays for DramaWest in Los Angeles.
Lyons is an award winning actor and director whose recent directorial credits include the world premieres of "Double Bind" and "Sewer Rats at Sea" (both of which took home the Best of Fringe award at the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival). At the 2012 Fringe, his direction of Rise took home the Best of Fringe and Best World Premiere awards. Most recently, he directed "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" at the Sierra Madre Playhouse.
“What Kind of God?” performs 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday through October 20, 2013. Tickets are $23. Call 323-960-7787 or go to www.whatkindofgodtheplay.com.
The Lillian Theatre is located at 1076 Lillian Way in Hollywood (1½ blocks west of Vine).