Last month, I got to check out a revival of Leviticus – an award-winning, autobiographical play about the challenges of the LGBTQ+ community within a church environment. Originally premiering at the 2019 Orlando Fringe Festival, Leviticus is a vitally important production exploring the intersection of queer identity, inclusive ideas, and a traditional Christian worldview. Written by Orlando local Ciara Hannon and produced by 11th Hour and Lightup Shoebox, Leviticus forces viewers to ask difficult questions about God, the Bible, and the church’s role in our hearts and relationships.
The Leviticus Story
According to a statement from Director Ciara Hannon and Co-Producer Clark Levi, the show’s summary is as follows:
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 abomination, forcing Levi to re-evaluate everything she believed about herself and her religion.
Freaky Thoughts: Leviticus
Already familiar with the work of Lightup Shoebox (I was honored to cover their production of Carmilla: An American Gothic at last year’s Fringe Festival), I got to see Leviticus as part of a limited-run January revival at Audubon Covenant Church. Taking place within the chapel, the real pews, vaulted ceiling, and stained glass windows provided a striking setting for such an impactful performance.
Wow! This show exceeded any expectations I might have had! In just over an hour, Leviticus was able to masterfully describe and depict complex conflicts and issues including self-acceptance, church dynamics, and the juxtaposition of God’s perfect love and legalistic Biblical texts. As a bisexual woman brought up in the height of purity culture, these questions and concepts hit hard for me. How can we balance our core identities, our thirst for spirituality, and the seemingly unforgiving Scriptures that conflict with our God-given hearts?
Perhaps the most important parts of Leviticus are its unflinching examination of these important questions, its brave exploration of these difficult topics, and its blatant refusal to provide an easy answer. Because quite frankly, our society doesn’t have one yet.
Find Out More About Leviticus
Currently, there are no future showings scheduled for Leviticus. However, make sure to follow Lightup Shoebox on Instagram and Facebook for the most recent production updates and performance schedules. If you do get the chance to see this unique, meaningful, and thought-provoking show, I insist that you check it out!