What happens after you die? That really depends on what you believe in as one of the main purposes for religion is to offer answers for that great unknown. But what if you don’t believe in anything? What if you’re an atheist, what happens then? I Believe in Atheists, a student work that SummerWorks has chosen to showcase this year, takes a humourous look at that ultimate question.
Ander, played by Rehan Suleman, is an under appreciated and overworked atheist who has just died. He is greeted by Phil, played by Rob Wierzbicki, who is actually God but takes on the form that befits the beliefs of the souls before him… if they even have beliefs. Before an atheist, God appears as merely a man named Phil.
Phil has a problem: he’s not quite sure what to do with Ander. If God is to appear as Allah, Buddah, Jehovah, Mother Earth or the Flying Spaghetti Monster to their respective followers and take them to their final destination, where does one take an atheist who holds no such beliefs? Changing his faith post mortem is not an option. To make matters worse, Ander only has a very small time frame to make such a decision.
It’s not a long production, only 25 minutes long. The set is minimal, the story amusing, the dialogue snappy and seasoned with numerous puns.
It’s definitely an entertaining performance though in ways it felt like the writing lacked a certain maturity. That can be expected when you consider that writer and director David Lichty is merely a high school student. I Believe in Atheists is one out of many student-written productions to be chosen by SummerWorks to be featured in this year’s festival.
Likewise can be said about the cast as both actors are teens as well. Despite the youthfulness of the company, I applaud the comfort in which Wierzbicki took to his role as Phil, slipping into it like trying on an old glove. The humour and frustration carried through his performance and delighted the audience.
I felt Suleman’s performance was commendable but felt forced and rehearsed, something I’m sure he can work through as he matures as an actor.
Overall, it was a thoroughly impressive production seeded from young minds and one not to be missed. I can say that Lichty’s talent is quite evident in his work and he is sure to be one playwright to look out for in years to come. Be sure to include I Believe in Atheists in your SummerWorks schedule this year.
- I Believe in Atheists is playing at the Scotiabank Theatre at Pia Bouman (6 Noble Street).
- Performances are Tuesday the 14th at 5 pm, Thursday the 16th at 7:30 pm and Saturday the 18th at 5 pm.
- All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at ticketwise.ca, by phone by calling the Lower Ossington Box Office at 416-915-6747, in person at the Lower Ossington Box Office (located at 100A Ossington Avenue) Mon. – Sun. 12 pm – 7 pm (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)
- Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows.