Chasing Gods

What happens when unconditional love meets unbearable conditions

CHASING GODS is about the collision of faith, family and identity in the backdrop of the Pulse Nightclub shooting.

It’s summer 2016. Only weeks have passed since the country witnessed the deadliest, recorded act of violence against the LGBTQ community. From the pulpit of Holy Ground Baptist Church, Pastor Deirdre Curtis condemns the tragedy’s victims in the name of God and Christianity. As if Deidra’s controlling, judgmental ways have not already alienated herself from her husband, Emmanuel, and her two children, Elijah and Olivia, the loss of one of their own further strains the fragile family. Playwright Paris Crayton III explores a family searching to love and co-exist with a matriarch whose religious devotion threatens each members’ healing and growth. Chasing Gods is an artistic experiment in “radical empathy”—extending compassion and understanding even to those whose ideas and beliefs challenge our own.

Chasing Gods by Paris Crayton III is a story about a family, and their community, that serves as a microcosm of our polarized American society trying to make peace over radically different opinions on faith, LGBT rights, and human rights.

A workshop production was presented in collaboration with the Kansas Repertory Theatre this past summer, click here to watch a quick moment from the summer.

We will hosted a standing room only industry presentation on Mon, Nov 18th at the MTC studios.

On May 31st, a reading of Chasing Gods will be presented in LA to new audiences as the kick off event for NewYorkRep West. We expect the world premiere of Chasing Gods in New York in 2021.

PARIS CRAYTON III (playwright) is an award-winning playwright, actor, and director. He was one of ArtsATL “30 under 30” and Atlanta Journal Constitution’s “Artist to watch.” Creative Loafing ATL named him 2014’s “Best Local Playwright.” Critics have called him “a powerful dramatist” and praised him as “one of the most important emerging playwrights of our time.” His plays have been presented and/or workshopped by The Lark, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Aurora Theatre, Clark University, Working Title Playwrights, Stage Door Players, Rising Sage Theatre, 3 Hill Productions, Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, Beth Marshall Presents, Indianapolis Fringe Festival and more. He is an Artistic Associate at NewYorkRep. Chasing Gods is a part of The Black Faith Plays, a six-play cycle chronicling the lives of black families and their complicated relationships with religion and faith.

Gayle’s career began on Wall Street where she managed the marketing and corporate communications for a premiere investment bank. During her 11 years there, she won a multitude of awards for the creative and strategic campaigns she directed. She later started her own marketing consulting firm, Waxenberg & Associates, working with advertising, public relations and direct marketing firms servicing the financial industry. A born advocate, she left the for-profit sector and committed her self to raising awareness for those less fortunate. Combining her extensive business experience and philanthropic work, she began giving “voice” to the different communities she served, and continues to serve; domestic abuse victims, hospice patients, substance abuse victims, immigrants, at-risk children and mental health patients. Gayle has been repeatedly honored for her service by the organizations she serves.

MARKUS POTTER (director) recent direction includes Stalking the Bogeyman off-Broadway at New World Stages (Outer Critics Circle Award nomination, NYTimes critics pick), London’s Southwark Playhouse (Off West End Award nomination for best production and direction), Red Speedo by Lucas Hnath at Center Rep (Shellie Award nomination), Lost Boy Found In Whole Foods by Tammy Ryan at The Portland Stage Company, Why You Beasting by David Don Miller (Time Out NY critic’s pick), Weston Playhouse, North Carolina Stage Company, and many more. As an actor he has worked extensively with Guthrie Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Berkeley Rep, The Denver Center and The American Conservatory Theatre. As a commercial producer he was on the team that brought the Arena Theatre production of Eric Coble’s The Velocity of Autumn to Broadway (Estelle Parsons’s Tony Award nomination. Markus received his MFA from Columbia University, and serves as Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Kansas.

Alysha Griffin (Associate Director/Dramaturg)
An actor, dramaturg, and aspiring playwright, Alysha Griffin is also a fourth-year PhD student at the University of Kansas (KU). Her most recent work includes the lead in Susan Gayle Todd’s Sycorax and associate director for Lucas Hnath’s The Christians. In the summer of 2019, Alysha served as the assistant director for the workshop production of Paris Crayton, III’s Chasing Gods. Alysha received a BA in English and history from Spelman College and an MA in English from the University of Kansas. She is originally from Appling, GA.