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June 17, 2017:

Nicaea reviewed by Rob Stevens


The First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. was the first effort to attain a consensus in the Catholic Church through an assembly representing all of Christendom at the time. The Council was called by the Emperor Constantine who had converted to Christianity but at the time still permitted the worship of pagan gods throughout the Roman Empire. The main result of the Council, consisting of around 300 bishops from throughout the known world, was the creation of the Nicene Creed which established the divine nature of Christ. There were teachings at the time that Christ was created by an act of will by God the Father, in essence his first creation. Others considered this teaching a heresy. In her World Premiere play Nicaea, at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, playwright Tricia Aurand gathers the main players together to hash out their differences. Arius (Mikie Beatty) is the main proponent of the heretical theory while his bishop, St. Alexander of Alexandria (Morris Schorr) is his major opponent. Athanasius (Brendan Haley) is Alexander’s aide and the political power behind the Council. It’s a very wordy and dry presentation which Aurand has tried to enliven with a female character, Sister (Anna Chazelle). The acting company is strong but the endless scene changes do bog down the pacing.



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