God Verbatim Meaghan Flaherty Have you ever been torn between your morals and faith? Or perhaps you believe fervently in aspects of your religion but seriously doubt others? It is improbable to expect people to believe whole-heartedly in everything without evidence, especially as children begin to discover science and other theories that contradict faith. God Verbatim, presented by Faith and Arts Ottawa is attempting to open a discussion about these questions of faith and life. Though I respect its attempt at doing so, the show fell flat for me as theatre. Featuring a very large cast, God Verbatim attempts to answer or at least discuss these questions through monologues of the cast members based on their personal experiences, and full-cast segments where they question the audience. I found some of the monologues and stories to be quite engaging and compelling, while others were boring and unexciting. The group segments didn’t work for me, as the sentences were broken into pieces spoken by various people, which I find to an extremely confusing and useless strategy, especially when the ensemble is not tight, which is unfortunately what happened here. This especially muddled the message when different sentences were spoken by groups of people layered over one another. This does not create the unity that I feel they were trying to achieve with this technique, but rather breaks it. I was also frustrated by the pre-show. One of the cast members stood outside informing everyone of the interactive twitter portion of the show. While this is a wonderful addition to the dialogues, since audience members may ask their questions about faith to god or whatever power they deem to be that god, it became extremely redundant as we waited for the doors to open to hear the same spiel repeated. This also led to a situation where, in the theatre, they were trying to catch each individual person who walked in afterwards to make sure they were aware of it too. The entire cast was also interacting with the audience pre-show, which I find to be a poor way to begin a formal presentation. These issues could have been solved by a very simple announcement at the beginning of the show about the social media and keeping the actors backstage until this announcement rather than the scattered approach used in this performance. Problems aside, I think that the religious questions brought forth were very interesting and respectful, so that no matter what your beliefs, you can connect to some part of the piece. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the theatrical vision of the show is present, causing it to get very muddled and ultimately bringing down the entire production. Presented by Faith and Arts Ottawa BYOV St. Paul’s Eastern United Church June 26@ 18:00 June 27 @ 20:00 June 28@ 20:00 PM