Jesus Arrested as Illegal Immigrant in New Political Play CHRIST DETAINED at Planet Connections
Playwright and director Anthony P. Pennino has announced the world premiere of his play Christ Detained by the Department of Homeland Security as part of the 2017 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. The play stars Joseph Jones as Jesus of Nazareth and Karl Knapp as Special Agent Clyde Hill. The first performance is Wednesday June 14 at 7:30 pm.
Jesus -- refugee, resident of the Middle East, activist, and subversive -- attempts to enter the United States illegally. He is detained and questioned by Agent Hill. Completed a mere eleven hours before the inauguration of Donald Trump, the play offers an angry protest to new governmental policies that call for the building of walls, deportation of illegal immigrants, and the vilification of the "other". What was Jesus, the play asks, if not all the things we now despise?
This marks Pennino's third production with Planet Connections Festivity. In 2015, he presented Chokehold (winner of outstanding overall production that year), which examined police brutality in the African-American community. In 2016, he offered Drones, which explored our seemingly never-ending wars through the lens of The Iliad. The writer holds two fellowships from the New Jersey Council on the Arts. In 2008, he was a Fulbright Scholar serving at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey where he taught theatre and literature. Pennino holds an MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama Studies from the University of London. His works have been produced both in New York City, London, and across the world. Numerous of his plays have been published. Other works include Dia de los Muertos (a bilingual play), the book for The Devil and Tom Walker (a folk musical), I Horatio (a "sixth act" of Hamlet that premiered at the NY Fringe and had a reading at The Rose Theater in London), and Toby (an absurdist play about two actors trapped in a production of Waiting for Godot). He teaches literature, theatre, and cinema at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ.
Joseph Jones (Jesus) hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has just graduated from the two-year acting program at The Neighborhood Playhouse. Christ Detained represents Joseph's American professional theatrical debut. As an activist for peace, the "remain" vote (as opposed to Brexit), and Irish unification and as someone who lost his father due to the continuing troubles in the North of Ireland, Joseph brings his artistry, political passions, and personal knowledge of a bitterly divided land to this production. Recent credits include Will Eno's Middletown (directed by Sean Hagerty), which was produced at The Neighborhood Playhouse in May.
Karl Knapp (Clyde) returns to the Planet Connections Festivity. Last year, he appeared as Hades in Drones. Karl has also just graduated from The Neighborhood Playhouse. He hails from Hubbarddsville, NY. Recent credits include Welcome to Thebes (directed by Megan Campisi and Blake Habermann), a hybrid of classic Greek tragedy and modern movement.
Emily Hamburger returns to Planet Connections for the third time as stage manager for the show. Performance dates and times for Christ Detained are June 14 (7:30 pm), June 17 (7 pm), June 22 (5:30 pm), June 24 (2 pm), July 1 (9:30 pm), and July 3 (9 pm). All performances will be at the Teatro Latea space in the Clemente Center, 107 Suffolk Street, NYC. Tickets for the show can be purchased for the show beginning May 24 through the Planet Connections online at planetconnections.org or ovationtix.com.