Play to explore existence of God

Playwright Joseph Vitale

CRANFORD, NJ — “Does God exist?”

A new play explores the historic 1948 BBC debate.

There is one performance only at the Cranford Community Center, 224 Walnut Ave, Cranford, on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. Admission is free.

The Theater Project will present a script-in-hand performance of “The Debate, Act 1,” by Joseph Vitale, on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. The presentation will be followed by a discussion with the playwright, director, actors and audience.

In late 1947, the British Broadcasting Corporation invited the most famous philosopher of the time, Bertrand Russell, and Britain’s most celebrated young theologian, Father Frederick Copleston, to debate the existence of God on the radio. Their encounter took place on a cold January night in 1948, with the country still coping with the aftermath of World War II. Act 1 of The Debate explores who these men were and the events and people who shaped their lives and set the stage for their memorable confrontation.
New York actor and director Mary Linehan will direct the reading.

Vitale’s plays have been produced by The Theater Project and by theaters around the country. He was a finalist for the Woodward-Newman Drama prize in 2020 and a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater/National Playwrights conference in 2012. His last play, “Sunset Park,” was produced by The Theater Project this summer. In 2024, “Murrow,” his one-man show about the life of broadcasting legend Edward R. Murrow, will be performed at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas. Vitale was a 2021 recipient of a Fellowship in Playwriting from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

The reading of “The Debate” will take place at the Cranford Community Center, 224 Walnut Ave. It is part of Cranford Library’s monthly September through May reading series, which showcases works-in-progress from the Theater Project’s Playwrights Workshop. Admission is free.

More information is available at or by calling 908-809-8865.

Photo Courtesy of Mary Iannelli