Revelations is a new play written by Saoirse D Byrne
Directed and Produced by Elena Yianni.
Behind the Story
Under a holy roof, ‘taboo’ is a well known word. Generations of abuse and misuse of power within these institutions have led to many people nowadays associating religion with old-world, conservative, and intolerant ideologies, which have no place in our modern society. Alternatively, some view religion as a form of denial–a way of escaping the worst parts of life, such as death, war, and natural disasters, by convincing yourself that it is all part of a ‘bigger plan’ for the world. Others simply feel that religion is not important to their lives, and therefore don’t feel the need to take part in it. We are looking to explore these complex relationships with religion, and also our own experiences of religion as young people. We aim to show the conflict between the joys of personal faith and the community that can be found through religion, versus the understanding of the way religion continues to be weaponised against vulnerable and marginalised people, and how it can be used as a way of trying to excuse intolerant behaviour.
We have chosen to use a close-knit Catholic community as the setting in which we will tackle these questions and have made this decision for a number of reasons: firstly, our writer, Saoirse Byrne, has grown up within the Catholic church, and whilst she still considers herself to be a Catholic, she has seen first-hand how the teachings of the church can be used to hurt and manipulate vulnerable people. In addition to this, Catholicism is a prime example of a religion with a clearly defined hierarchy and power structure, and historically has wielded great political power, in some places being more influential than a nation’s own government. The Church as an institution can sometimes feel entirely separate from the faith that Catholics share, and we believe this makes it a perfect setting in which to explore the themes of our play.
Recent research shows that every year less and less young people define themselves as religious, and even for those that do, they do not practise their religion with the same integrity as older generations. With this in mind, what could the future hold for the Church, and other religious institutions? Will they be able to adapt to the changing times, or are they doomed to fade into myth, like so many before them?
Brighton Fringe @ St. Marys Church, Kemptown
" I saw Revelations last week, it was the first play I've ever seen. I didn't think theater could still have strong politics in today's society, and I loved to see it on stage. Creating all sorts of inclusive and subversive art is really important nowadays. This play showed me that theater is also for us, young people, and I am going to see a lot more plays now because of this one, so thank you." (Josephine, Audience member at FUSE Festival)