Fringe 2019 Review: 'Leviticus'

Levi Nolan is an effervescent, empathetic 17-year-old whose two greatest loves in life are God and her girlfriend Elsie. As a precocious lesbian who came out of the closet in seventh grade, Levi has always felt accepted by her liberal Christian denomination. But when she tries to become a youth leader ministering to middle-schoolers, her beloved mentor begins citing Old Testament Bible verses preaching against abomination, forcing Levi to re-evaluate everything she believed about herself and her religion.

As a deeply personal drama that touches on issues important to LGBTQ+ youth, Leviticus could have easily have devolved into a well-meaning polemic, but 19-year-old writer-director Ciara Hannon possesses more maturity than many playwrights twice her age. Instead of a heavy-handed homily about the dark side of faith, her script — which was inspired by real-life incidents — smartly shows how the language of love can be insidiously manipulated to generate an internalized self-loathing that burns deeper than any fire-and-brimstone sermon.

Hannon has a sharp ear for the way adolescents actually talk, and her age-appropriate actors deliver her dialogue with emotional honesty far beyond their years. The script’s final scenes feel underdeveloped — there’s a heartbreaking climax, but little sense of resolution, leaving us wanting to learn more about the characters — and some unnecessary set changes slow the momentum. Novice missteps aside, Leviticus is a thought-provoking hymn to our common humanity that offers no easy answers, revealing its author as a promising talent worth keeping an eye on.

Leviticus

JC Theatre Company
Orlando FL Yellow
Ages 13 and up
60 minutes
$10
Saturday, May 18th 12:00 PM
Sunday, May 19th 4:00 PM
Saturday, May 25th 11:45 AM
Sunday, May 26th 1:30 PM