Women in the Pit

It would be easy to assume the pit in Women in the Pit refers to the pulpit; the play is about a congregation searching for a new pastor. But that’s not it, playwright Joyce Sylvester tells us. “It’s the pit that women fall into, get thrown into sometimes. The pit between us and [success].”

A group of church leaders are searching for a new pastor. The most qualified candidate is, as it happens, a woman. But choosing a woman to head their church doesn’t sit well with all of the members of the selection committee, including Elder Block (played by Wayne Dehart). Staunchly against the installation of any female in so crucial a role, Elder Block voices all of the shallow, stubborn, sexist views held by many.

“I know some women are going to want to scratch my eyes out at some of the things I say on stage,” Dehart laughing tells us. “But that’s the way a lot of people used to think.” His character does not reflect his own viewpoint, he says. “I went to a church with a woman pastor, and I didn’t think anything about it.” Jason E. Carmichael, Jo Anne Davis-Jones and Rachel Hemphill Dickson also appear in Women in the Pit. As does Bryon Jacquet, Lisa Thomas-Morrison and James West. Director Eileen J. Morris has brought in four female pastors and deacons as consultants for the cast, to better understand the realities women face as they aspire to church leadership.

7:30 p.m. Thursdays; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; and 3 p.m. Sundays. October 12. Through October 12. The -Ensemble Theatre, 3535 Main. For information, call 713-520-0055 or visit ensemblehouston.com. $26 to $44.
Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.; Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m. Starts: Sept. 13. Continues through Oct. 12, 2014

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Olivia Flores Alvarez