(Paradox Players, performing at Howson Hall, Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover Avenue - click for map )
by David Ives
October 11 - 27
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m.
Paradox Players presents New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation: Amsterdam, July 27, 1656, by renowned playwright David Ives, at the Howson Hall Theater, October 11 - 27.
In 17th Century Amsterdam, members of the Jewish community were tolerated by the town council on the condition that they maintained a low profile, kept radical beliefs to themselves and refrained from discussing religion with Christians. Into this world comes Baruch de Spinoza, a brilliant young philosopher who openly questions the nature of God and reality.
New Jerusalem opens the temple doors and chronicles the playwright's take on Spinoza’s interrogation by representatives of the synagogue and a Christian leader. He is accused of atheism and, if he will not agree to reform his beliefs, will be excommunicated from the Jewish community.
But according to Paradox Artistic Director Gary Payne, "The play is by no means just a religious treatise. It’s a courtroom drama that will have you on the edge of your seat, rooting for intellectual freedom."
Spinoza, of course, went on to write the books (most notably "Ethics,") that have had a profound influence on religious philosophy for the past 350 years. In fact, Albert Einstein, asked if he believed in God, responded, “I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.”
Adds Payne, “Spinoza’s beliefs were certainly outside of the Jewish and Christian mainstream. But they mesh beautifully with my own and those of a number of ‘liberal’ religions, such as Unitarian Universalists.”
David Ives, the playwright of New Jerusalem, is best known as the writer of All in the Timing, which is probably the world’s most produced series of short plays over the past 20 years.
The Howson Hall Theater is located in the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Avenue, Austin, TX 78756.
Performances are October 11 – 27, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 3:00 pm.
Tickets for the Opening Night Gala, which includes a special reception with refreshments, and for which all tickets are $25. For all other performances, tickets are $20 General Admission, $15 for Seniors, and $10 for Students.
Purchase tickets online at www.paradoxplayers.org, or phone 512-744-1495 for reservations.
(Click to go to the AustinLiveTheatre front page)