Since 1992, Anthony Lawton has been one of the most consistent working actors on the Philadelphia theater scene. But in the late ’90s, he launched a parallel career as an interpreter of Christian-themed literature, developing a coterie of devoted fans along the way. His most popular adaptations are from the works of C.S. Lewis and Shel Silverstein (both are featured this month in Lantern Theater Company’s “Anthony Lawton Festival”). But never before has Lawton directly confronted his audience with his own, personal crisis of faith. Until now.
“Heresy” is Lawton’s one-man show, chronicling his spiritual life — from his Catholic upbringing to his current understanding of Christianity, influenced by the writings of Joseph Campbell and Karen Armstrong.
“It’s scary, you know, because the audience gets to see the darker, more secret side of my life,” says Lawton, from his home in Roxborough. “But I think that’s part of my job.”
Today, Lawton considers himself a Christian, although one that rejects literal interpretations of biblical miracles — and that can indeed be scary to share with a predominantly Christian fan base.
“I think on the whole, Christians will appreciate it,” says Lawton. “If any of them have had doubt — which I think they must — this play is one recipe for keeping the baby and throwing out the bathwater.”