“The God Committee” is the third in a trilogy of plays presented by Oil Lamp Theater in 2018 that represent stories about women.
The first, “Love, Loss and What I Wore”, co-written by Nora Ephron, focused on the intimate side of personal growth, looking at how women define and shape their sense of self in intimate ways.
The second, Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple, female version” took this exploration to the next level as we considered how that sense of self affects relationships, both with men and with other women – especially in a world and at a time when the ability to make strong, independent choices really seemed possible.
The third show in this trilogy, “The God Committee”, moves this conversation into the workplace – in this case, the high-pressure world of medicine, specifically organ transplantation and cardiac surgery. This is a place where women in positions of power and decision-making responsibility have been under-represented, and we seek to help shift that narrative through portraying this story. Contrary to how this play was produced in 2014, women will hold the positions of power and the cast will be more ethnically diverse.
Medicine, Money, and Morality clash when the Heart Transplant Selection Committee of St. Patrick’s Hospital has only minutes to decide which of three patients will receive a heart that has suddenly become available. A cross between Twelve Angry Men and ER, The God Committee takes us into the inner workings of a transplant program and a decision, for both their candidates and their program, that is a matter of life and death.
The God Committee, a medical drama that explores the moral, ethical and emotional issues surrounding decisions about organ transplantation, is the next presentation for Glenview’s Oil Lamp Theater.
On any given day in the United States, about 120,000 people need life-saving organ transplants. Approximately a quarter of those will ultimately die for lack of donor organs. Playwright Mark St. Germain takes us into the boardroom of a major urban hospital for a meeting of the Transplant Selection Committee, a small group tasked with making a wrenching decision: who, from among the several candidates, will receive a donor heart that has just become available? And who won’t?
The God Committee explores this gathering of seven professionals — three doctors, a social worker, a psychiatrist, a nurse, and a priest – as they wrestle with their not only this profound question, but also with their professional responsibilities, their personal ethics, and their own emotions. Who should live? And who will die? And how would you decide?
The seven members of The God Committee include Dr. Alex Gorman, a surly and opinionated cardiac surgeon (Wendy Hayne); Nurse Neil Larkin, a down-to-earth registered nurse who is the transplant coordinator (Anthony Harden); Dr. Jackie Klee, a cardiologist who heads the hospital’s transplant unit and who may have her own agenda, (Madeline Bunke); Dr. Andy Ross, a psychiatrist working hard to hide his own personal stress (Dennis Schnell); Dominique Piero, the eccentric and well-intentioned head of Social Services at the hospital, (Deveon Bromby); Father Charles Dunbar, a Catholic priest who is also the committee’s lawyer (David
McNulty); and Dr. Kenneth Banks, a young surgeon filling in as proxy for another doctor, who must learn to vote his own conscience in this unrelenting environment (Mark Tacderas). The understudies for this production are Whitney Minarik, Rachel Silvert and Steve Smith.
Each one of these people is a qualified professional. Each is driven by the desire to achieve the best outcome possible for their patients in their care. But St. Germain’s play reveals that those who “play God” are also complex individuals driven by ego, delusions of grandeur, ticking clocks… and the knowledge that their decisions are irrevocable.
With shades of Twelve Angry Men, Grey’s Anatomy and ER, The God Committee will keep you on the edge of your seat as the committee argues, accuses, and moves inexorably toward its fateful decision.
Commenting on the how this play fits into the larger Oil Lamp 2018 schedule, Executive Director, Keith Gerth explained that The God Committee is the third in a trilogy of shows presented during the 2018 Oil Lamp Theater season that represent stories about women and are told by women.
The first, Love, Loss and What I Wore, focused on the intimate side of personal growth, looking at how women define and shape their sense of self in intimate ways.
The second show, The Odd Couple – Female Version show took this exploration to the next level as we considered how that sense of self affects relationships, both with men and with other women – especially in a world and at a time when the ability to make strong, independent choices really seemed possible.
The third show in this trilogy, The God Committee, will move this conversation into the workplace – in this case, the high-pressure world of medicine, specifically organ transplantation and cardiac surgery. This is a place where women in positions of power, and with important decision-making responsibility, have been rare until quite recently.
Each of these shows offers us fertile ground for exploring the challenges facing women, and for considering what it means to be a woman in society today. There’s a lot to think about… but also a lot of fun to be had along the way!
Directed by Josh Johnson
Dr. Jackie Klee
Nurse Neil Larkin
Dr. Alex Gorman
Father Charles Dunbar
Dr. Andy Ross
Dr. Kenneth Banks