It takes moxie to critique religion while performing in a church. But for Yolanda K. Wilkinson, Judson Memorial Church Loft is exactly the right place to premiere her new solo show: Bible Study for Heathens.
The show is presented by The New York Neo-Futurists and, like everything this ground-breaking theatre company does, Bible Studes for Heathens defies definition and pushes theatrical boundaries.
With hilarious visual aids, fantastically-produced videos, sock-puppets, graphics, and sometimes intense audience participation, Yolanda chronicles her personal life quest to find some kind of meaning, attachment or even divine inspiration in ten different religions she has taken part in, since her childhood. Along the way, she hones in on some disturbing truths about the American religious experience, but in the end, she—and the audience—find hope through basic, affirming, human communion.
Go See A Show! correspondent Tara Gadomski sat down after a recent performance—in the cavernous church—to speak to writer and performer Yolanda K. Wilkinson and director Joey Rizzolo. Listen in as they discuss avoiding “therapy” on stage, how to interact with audience members who may strongly disagree with you, and why religion and theatre intersect.
“We think about artistic media as having a relationship with one another, but theatre has a really close relationship with religion and it’s unique that way. And you can say that theatre has a closer relationship with religion than it does with any other storytelling medium. Because it’s the only one that requires people being in a room at the same time.”