The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord | Northlight Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Nathan Hosner, Mark Montgomery, and Jeff Parker in Discord

Nathan Hosner, Mark Montgomery, and Jeff Parker in Discord

Michael Brosilow

The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord 

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through June 12 2016
Price: $15-$74
Scott Carter's play throws Jefferson, Dickens, and Tolstoy together in a locked room where they quickly recognize that they're (a) all dead, (b) in Purgatory, and (c) not going anywhere until they figure out what else they've got in common. Every hypothesis falls short until they realize that each of them wrote a version of the Gospels to conform to his own notions about Jesus. Dickens's is novelistic, Jefferson's informed by Enlightenment values, and Tolstoy's by renunciation. It doesn't stop there, though. Once they've shared their theologies, they're compelled to confront their lives. The 90-minute triologue is meant to be witty and profound yet plays out as a festival of gimmicks—a cutesy, down-market No Exit for Christians, processed through currently fashionable theatrical modes and reductive characterizations. In Kimberly Senior's staging, only Nathan Hosner comes out all right as a pensive, dignified Jefferson. Jeff Parker's performance is constrained by Carter's apparent disdain for Dickens, while Mark Montgomery plays Tolstoy, mystifyingly, as Popeye and Bluto's love child. —Tony Adler

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