Tales From The O'Neill: A Great Wilderness and Little Children Dream of God Roundup

By Sophia Saifi
19 Jul 2013

Having grown up in the northern Idaho town of Moscow and attended a fundamentalist Christian school, Hunter is aware of the dichotomy of opinions that divide liberals and Christians. According to Hunter, there is no halfway point where these sparring opinions can meet, which frustrates him.

"The tendency for the two groups is to raise their hands and call one another crazy," said Hunter, explaining one of the reasons he wrote A Great Wilderness. "I think a play like this is an attempt to speak to both groups. I hope this play can be a narrative for a fundamentalist Christian the same way it can for the left-leaning gay community."

Directed by Braden Abraham, the cast of A Great Wilderness consisted of Joanna Day, Brian Murray, Jon DeVries, Christine Estabrook, Aaron Simon Gross and Tasha Lawrence. 

According to Hunter the play has already "gotten blowback from both gay audience members and Christian audience members."

That was his intention. He wanted to write a play that could be "continuously unpacked."

"Whenever I go see a play that deals with something very topical, my shoulders always tense up. I always feel I'm going to watch a 90-minute play and at minute 90 the thesis will be delivered," he said. "It's usually preaching to the choir, confirming our beliefs and we can go home with a pat to our back. I always feel shortchanged. I feel that you could have written an op-ed to give me your opinion."

With A Great Wilderness, Hunter said, he just "wanted to keep things as complicated as possible so I can leave the discussion in the audience's lap." 


Playwright Jeff Augustin is a chid of both Haiti and the United States, and that rich heritage is infused throughout his work.

There is a sort of magic in his play Little Children Dream of God that protects and shelters. There is the comfort and strength of home and the unending safety net of community.

A Great Wilderness
photo by A.Vincent Scarano