Capital Fringe Review: ‘The Conversion of Thais the Whore’ by Lauren Katz

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THREE STARS
Written by Hroswitha of Gandersheim and directed by Michael Poanddl, The Conversion of Thais the Whore tells the shocking story of Pafnutius, a religious man with a desire for the world to behave according to God’s wish. While he has many followers, Thais, a courtesan in his land, creates an obstacle for his goal. In an attempt to save man-kind, Pafnutius sets out on a journey to save her soul.

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The small and intimate theater created the perfect space for the play. A tale of redemption can be a difficult story to watch, especially when it involves scenes depicting torture and possible damnation. The lack of distance between the actors and the audience forces the spectators to not only accept the uncomfortable themes unfolding in front of them, but also feel as if they are taking part in the action. I felt physical discomfort during parts of the play, and my close proximity to the action changed my perspective in a manner I grew to appreciate because I could not look away.

Though the staging aided the play, the script created a bit of an obstacle. Though the story successfully provoked emotion, the plot was a little lacking. When the play concluded, I felt that very little happened and I wanted to see more action take place.

However, some of the actors proved to do a great deal with what little they were given, especially Chelsea Thaler who played the courtesan. I believed her pain during the torture scenes, and admired how she successfully conveyed the growth of the character, as she found her way to redemption.

Running Time: 30 minutes.

Conversion of Thais the Whore plays at Fort Fringe’s Shop Theatre – 607 New York Ave NW in Washington, DC on 7/20 at 1:00 PM, 7/23 at 8:15 PM, and 7/26 at 9:45 PM. For more information and tickets, please visit their Capital Fringe Page.

 

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