Queer and Christian: a preview of NEXT FALL (Quince, GayFest! 2014)

Richie Sklar (l.) and Peter Zielinski in Geoffrey Nauffts' NEXT FALL. Photo by John Donges.
Richie Sklar (l.) and Peter Zielinski in Geoffrey Nauffts’ NEXT FALL. Photo by John Donges.

This Wednesday, Quince Productions continues an exciting GayFest! with the opening of Next Fall, playwright/actor Geoffrey Nauffts’ Tony Award-nominated play. Next Fall tackles big issues without big presumptions, approaching societal white elephants with the light, comfortable wit of a TV-sitcom writer.

Adam is agnostic and religiously ignorant. Luke is devout, believing that if you don’t accept Christ into your heart you’re headed straight to Hell. After a nearly fatal accident, they hook up and get along pretty well, except for that one little thing, which comes out at breakfast the morning after. From the Broadway production:

Times are changing, but there still aren’t many places in America where being Christian is considered weird. Contemporary theater is one of them, gay culture can be another, and that gives Nauffts the ability to tackle some pretty major preconceptions.

Nauffts is using homosexuality and its often adversarial relationship with the church as a launching-off point to examine the concept of faith. Is Luke a hypocrite? Is Adam really free of faith, or has he simply placed his faith in a different place? Can two individuals with opposing beliefs live side-by-side?

Similarly to GayFest! special event Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, NEXT FALL presents a variety of voices and opinions on its topic. This is another example of Quince artistic director Rich Rubin picking the right play for the right moment. NEXT FALL is directed by Calvin Atkinson and stars Richie Sklar, Peter Zielinski, Jeff Hunsicker, Peggie Smith, Craig Copas, and Karina Balfour. Set design by Joseph Napolitano, lights by Eric Baker, costumes by John Hodges, sound by Lucas Fendlay, props by Valerie Bannan, and stage management by Noelle Johnson. [Playground at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St.] Aug. 13-22, 2014. quinceproductions.com.

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