The Essential Theatre will present two plays in rotating workshop presentations during the Lenten season. A Matter of Faith by La’Chris Jordan and A Field of Thorns by John Becker will rotate in free virtual on-demand presentations March 24 through April 24, 2022, Thursdays through Sundays of each week. To view the plays, patrons must register at theessentialtheatre.org.
“We begin with the objective to create the well-made play, and the expectation is that our process would lead us here,” said Founder/Artistic Director S. Robert Morgan. “These presentations will again allow us to work out the kinks that might exist with new drafts of each script prior to scheduled world premieres.”
Each day beginning March 24 the pretaped presentations will rotate. The presentation schedule is below and posted on the registration portal. Each play runs appoximately 93 minutes and can be viewed on-demand any time of the day on which a patron is registered. All presentations will be closed-captioned for the hearing impaired.
The plays were developed in the theater company’s new-play development program with support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
About the Plays
A Matter of Faith by La’Chris Jordan
Faith Morgan is a Jehovah’s Witness who has just been diagnosed with leukemia and only a blood transfusion can save her. Faith knows that if she takes the transfusion, she will be excommunicated. Faith’s husband, Sam, is determined to keep her alive despite all objections. But will time run out for Faith as those around her debate the issue of whether she should live or die in the name of God?
A Field of Thorns by John Becker
The Harts are a white working-class family struggling with a recent loss, a maladapted younger son who longs for brotherly kinship, and an iconoclast of a daughter whose dinner-time behavior incites family discord. Add to that a mysterious Black man who wanders into their home during an evening storm claiming to be the son of God and you have a divine recipe for absurdity, drama, pithy humor, but most of all healing.
Thursday, March 24: A Matter of Faith
Friday, March 25: A Field of Thorns
Saturday, March 26: A Matter of Faith
Sunday, March 27: A Field of Thorns
Thursday, March 31: A Matter of Faith
Friday, April 1: A Field of Thorns
Saturday, April 2: A Matter of Faith
Sunday, April 3: A Field of Thorns
Thursday, April 7: A Matter of Faith
Friday, April 8: A Field of Thorns
Saturday, April 9: A Matter of Faith
Sunday, April 10: A Field of Thorns
Thursday, April 14: A Matter of Faith
Friday, April 15: A Field of Thorns
Saturday, April 16: A Matter of Faith
Sunday, April 17: A Field of Thorns
Thursday, April 21: A Matter of Faith
Friday, April 22: A Field of Thorns
Saturday, April 23: A Matter of Faith
Sunday, April 24: A Field of Thorns
Cast for A Matter of Faith by La’Chris Jordan
Faith Morgan: Gayle Carney
Sam Morgan: LaJuan Martin
Michael Morgan: Derrick Hardy, Jr.
Domonique Sims: Gifty Amponsem
Dinah Sims: Kelli Sontas DeJesus
Don Hayes: Matthew A. Castleman
Narrator: Mary Rodrigues
Cast for A Field of Thorns by John Becker
Mrs. Evelin Hart: Edie Backman
Mr. Charles Hart: Jim Epstein
Alicia Hart: Mary Rodrigues
Aeron Hart: Sophia Colón Roosevelt
Mr. Immanuel: Derrick Hardy Jr.
Narrator: Matthew A. Castleman
Director, S. Robert Morgan; Production Stage Manager, Stephanie Smith; Program Associate/Dramaturge, Renee Charlow, MFA; Videographer/Sound (A Matter of Faith) See the Fruits, Inc.; Videographer/Sound (A Matter of Faith) Linwood Wesley Dailey; Video/Sound Editor, Linwood Wesley Dailey; Saxophone Soloist, Morris J. Wilson; Organ/Piano Soloist, Everett P. Williams; Recording Studio Technician, Pete Chatmon; Production Artwork Design, Lynne Menefee; eMarketing Manager, Jamal Coleman, M.A.Ed; Virtual Streaming Consultant, Deanna Malloy; Social Media Consultant, Megan Midwood
About the Play-Development Program
The New Play Reading Series is created to give voice to the work of new and established playwrights. It is in substance an incubator that serves to nurture the work of participating writers for a three-year period in a supportive and collaborative environment with other artisans, actors, and directors. Further, it is a forum where audience members are welcomed to engage in an open, frank dialogue with playwrights about issues presented in the material as well as techniques used to present them. The New Play Reading Series was initiated in the spring of 1992.
About the Company
The Essential Theatre is a nonprofit professional theater dedicated but not limited to producing theater reflective of the African American experience that explores and celebrates America’s rich, diverse cultural landscape. Paramount to the company’s mission is the implementation of programs for youth in Washington, DC’s metropolitan area that promote interdisciplinary education and positive self-esteem. Founded in 1989, the company hosts a play-development program, The Essential Theatre’s New Play Reading Series, the Children’s Program in Public Schools/Young Audiences’, and the Women’s Works Program. The company also maintains relationships with area Social Services programs to provide job training opportunities.