For those who do not know, the word “infidel” refers to a person who adheres to a religion other than one’s own. This definition is at the center of the so-titled play. Set during the Fifth Crusade, Infidel follows the story of a young knight named Hugh as he navigates the world and chases his desire for peace. Unfortunately for him, he is always in the shadow of his older brother Phillip, whose misguided attempts at guiding his younger brother border on pressuring him into a life he does not want. As he falls more deeply into this holy war, Hugh discovers the true costs of this fighting and violence.
How It’s Performed
Infidel can be seen in the Poorman Black Box Theater in Climenhaga, which makes watching the play a unique experience. Because of the sword fighting that goes on during the play, the Black Box is a perfect setting to view the action. But besides the exceptionally choreographed fights, there are only four actors on stage to play a total of 14 characters. First-year James Hy, senior Zachary Smith, and sophomore Ryan Wong each portray at least three different characters throughout the length of the play, while senior Nicholas Schmoyer portrays Hugh the whole way through. The overall dedication of all four actors is crystal clear from the very beginning, as they have every word and every motion down as if it were second nature.
While all four actors give excellent performances, Schmoyer naturally shines, as he has the most emotional weight to carry. By the end, it will be his performance that leaves the audience emotionally drained, as we feel like we have taken this long journey with him.
Hugh spends much of the play questioning the validity of religious war and who really is behind the motivation to fight. He is told that he should be fighting because it is the correct Christian act to perform, which is an idea that he has trouble buying into. Hugh wants there to be peace so that the innocent people in the world don’t get hurt—because after all, they are not directly involved in the conflict.
But beyond the fairly simple theme of peace, Infidel explores the idea of war in general. It addresses the effect war has on refugees, innocent people and all those involved, including the modern day implications. By the end, it seems to be directly condemning all these things.
Infidel tells a beautiful and complete story in a unique and powerful way, brought together by an amazing cast portraying important messages. I know Infinity War is playing at Lost Films this weekend, but Infidel is well worth your time and money.