By Michael Block
Religion is one of those topics that is personally comforting but when discussed out loud in a group, it becomes a hot button topic. No matter the context, someone is going to feel something. And that's ever-present in the New York Neo-Futurists production of Yolanda K. Wilkinson's Bible Study for Heathens. The solo show is a guided meditation of one women's journey through religions and finding something or someone to believe in.
A solo show about faith in the 21st Century, Wilkinson takes the audience on a ride of her life as she instilled her knowledge without preaching. The monologue play follows Wilkinson at a young age to today as she tries out an assortment of Faith's during crucial checkpoints in her life. From Christianity to Born Again to Judaism, Wilkinson discovers at the base there is commonality but no matter what she learns her believes belong to her and solely her. Wilkinson is a spiritually grounded performer. She uses her experiences to bring out the best in her stage persona. She layers in sly cynicism that adds a needed aura of humor into the theme.
Even with the restrictions of space, Rizzolo and his team made some strong artistic choices. The projection design by Cara Francis was a clever mix of fun and evocative. They helped propel the story forward. Sans the house lights lighting from Sarah Livant, did a phenomenal exploring the different looks the space provided. From the black lampshade spots to highlighting the architecture of the space, Livant’s design was purposeful.
Bible Study for Heathens was an interesting story to say the least. Yolanda K. Wilkinson has offered an incredibly interesting theatrical presentation. But Bible Study for Heathens suffered from some avoidable strong choices.