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Intersection of art and religion in a complex passion play

Sophia Varnai, Jay Griffith, and Sophie Falvey in Lumina’s “Passion Play.” COURTESY PHOTOSophia Varnai, Jay Griffith, and Sophie Falvey in Lumina Studio Theatre’s “Passion Play.” COURTESY PHOTO  David Minton grew up a fervent Southern Baptist.

“I’ve gone through a lot of changes since then,” admitted the artistic director of Lumina Studio Theatre. “But I have a great respect for people of faith.”

Religious belief is a strong component of “Passion Play,” the theater company’s next offering.

Playwright Sarah Ruhl dramatizes a community of players rehearing their annual staging of the Easter Passion in three different periods: 1575 England, just before Queen Elizabeth outlaws the ritual; 1934 Oberammergua, Bavaria, when Hitler is rising to power and using the ritual toward his own ends; and the Vietnam era through Reagan’s presidency in Spearfish, South Dakota.

We never get to see the actual Passion Play.

“It’s a piece of theater about theater,” said Minton, who is directing. “Ruhl is intrigued by the intersection of faith and art – with politics not far in the background.”

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Going for the classics - in play and staged reading - at Lumina

Barnaby Rudge Lumina Studio Theatre copyLumina Studio Theatre’s spring 2017 production of Dickens's “Barnaby Rudge.” This season, Lumina will present productions of “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Great Expectations.” COURTESY PHOTO  Shakespeare aficionados know he wrote a comedy called “Love's Labor Lost.” What they may not know of is that the Bard apparently wrote a sequel entitled “Love's Labor Won.”

“The play itself was probably lost, sitting on a dusty shelf somewhere,” said David Minton, artistic director of the Lumina Studio Theatre. “But we do have his ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’ which is pretty much a sequel to ‘Love's Labor Lost.’”

Lumina is presenting “Much Ado About Nothing” in the first two weekends of December in a blended production. Part of the first act will be a play within a play, of “Love's Labor Lost.”

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On stage in Downtown Silver Spring with Black Box and Highwood Theatres

IMG 8458 copy highwoodThe cast of the Highwood Theatre production of “Into the Woods.” COURTESY PHOTO BY HIGHWOOD THEATRE   Downtown Silver Spring has become a hub of activity, featuring stores, restaurants, and various forms of entertainment, ranging from a skating rink to movie theaters to outdoor concerts.

It’s also the home of two live theatres.

The 140-seat Silver Spring Black Box Theatre, located at 8641 Colesville Road, is home to four theatre groups, which perform there regularly as part of the Theatre Consortium of Silver Spring. But the community-owned building also rents out space for one-night engagements and limited runs, giving the opportunity to new artists and arts organizations to put on fare as varied as plays, set lists, improv comedy, open-mic and dance concerts, said Jonathan Ezra Rubin, managing director of the Consortium. There’s even a pole-dance competition on August 12, produced by the Titans of Pole.

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