Photos by Right Image Photography Inc.
PENTECOST by David Edgar
In an unspecified Balkan country in the 1990s a fresco is discovered in a crumbling historic building that has through history served as an Orthodox and Catholic church, a mosque, a stable, a prison, and a communist museum.
The discovery may turn accepted art history on its head and could place the country on the map. Gabriella, a local museum curator, hopes so, but she and Oliver, a British art historian, are plunged into a diplomatic and cultural struggle over the ownership of the building and the future of the fresco. While churchmen, nationalists, and the pragmatic American art expert, Leo Katz argue, a group of international refugees take them hostage, demanding asylum. Throughout the rest of Pentecost language barriers break down and Oliver discovers a new appreciation (and attribution) for the fresco until soldiers take back the building, overpowering the hostage-takers.
Themes & Parallels
Workshopped during the breakup of Yugoslavia and the conflict between its ethnic groups, the heart of the play is language in the fragmenting Eastern Europe following the Cold War. Each character in the play speaks his or her own language. The audience gathers the gist from the reactions of others or from translations into English, occasionally translating in a way that’s self-serving or misleading. In the church the term Pentecost refers to the moment the Holy Spirit imparted a miraculous ability to speak and understand a multitude of languages, a symbol of unity. In the play language represents much more of a tactical tool deployed in the defense of individuality, nationalism, and/or self-expression.
Related to the use of language is the overall theme of identity that guides the play. Whether it be individual identity, national identity, the attribution of the fresco, or the ownership of the church building itself, defining identity is the core concept of the piece and the question with which all its characters must grapple.
Characters and Actors
View trailer here.
GABRIELLA Pecs, National museum art curator /
OLIVER Davenport, English art historian / Marc Carver
Father Sergei BOJOVIC, Orthodox / Greg Paul
Father Petr KAROLYI, Catholic / Matt Hager
Mikhail CZABA, minister / Tim Davis
PUSBAS, leader of Heritage / Jon Fitts
LEO Katz, American art historian / Brian Linden
Anna JEDLIKOVA, former dissident / Julie Oliver
TONI Newsome, English TV hostess (hostage) / Mikaela Sccoccio
YASMIN, Palestinian Kuwaiti refugee / Jeanine Frost
RAIF, Azeri refugee / Max Hanau
ANTONIO, Mozambican refugee / Gil Faison
AMIRA, Bosnian refugee / Julie Oliver
MARINA, Russian refugee / Maggie Lea
GRIGORI, Ukrainian refugee / Jeff Aguiar
ABDUL, Afghan refugee / Jon Fitts
TUNU, Sri Lankan refugee / Steph Scribner
NICO, “Bosnian” Roma refugee / Tim Davis
CLEOPATRA, “Bosnian” Roma refugee / Elise Kimple
FATIMA, Kurdish refugee / Rebecca Bosen
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