Psychologically and dramatically that's a lot to swallow, but Platt's full-court press makes Paul's belief believable. Plays and novels are lies that convince us of truths, after all.

In a single flamboyant scene toward the end, Kelby T. Akin's knockout portrayal of the Emperor Nero, who visits Paul and Peter in jail, provides another interesting perspective. Nearly naked and powdered white, Nero heartily approves of such true believers, saying that religious rituals "stop chaotic behavior."

Playwright Brenton and director Tony Estrella have given Platt plenty to pick up and run with. This play is by no means disrespectful of Christianity, and in fact praises Jesus's benign teachings. Such a clear-sighted examination of the power of faith can be instructive to Christians and non-Christians alike.

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