The Reluctant Writer: Something Else to do When I Should Be Writing

September 27, 2009

TRUSTUS always tells the Most Fabulous Stories

Kristine Hartvigsen and I went out last night to have a little early celebration of her birthday, which is coming up this Tuesday.  I’ll be out-of-town on her official day, but I did NOT want to miss celebrating the birth of such a fine human being as Kristine.  So we made a night of it with dinner, drinks, a show and crashing the party at Jodi Barnes’ house afterward.  Of the three local productions going on now, we chose to see The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told at TRUSTUS.  It was, in a word, fabulous.

First of all — I absolutely love the fact that TRUSTUS exists.  For 25 years Jim and Kay Thigpen have been sticking it out in this town — giving us the kind of thought provoking productions that not only create discourse, but demonstrate a faith in their audiences that we will rise to their expectations and, essentially, evolve — socially, emotionally, and intellectually.  Sometimes they do it dramatically — I’m thinking Angels in America, The Laramie Project, and Gross Indecency here; and sometimes they do it with humor.  This is one of those times.

The Most Fabulous Story caught me at a good time — a period I am calling the agony of my agnosticism.  As a recovering Southern Baptist, I long ago rejected the easy-way-out of expecting a gridlocked organized religion to push me toward enlightenment (which I believe to be one of the three reasons we exist.)  However, as a human being, I can’t help but ponder the same questions we all (should) think about — an understanding of the sacred and the profane.  I’m not a nihilist — I believe there is a point to it all.  I think of myself as more of a noetics-curious Deist.  I believe there is a god who made all this happen, but then I think s/he probably figured the rest was up to us. In any case, my agony is generated from the sadness I feel at giving up the comfort of delusions and the inability to out-grow my superstitious angst that the boogeyman is going to get me in my sleep and punish me for the audacity of my ruminations.  We can find God, signs, and Satan wherever we want to see them — a reality that is both sad and beautiful.

Which brings me back to The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, directed by Dewey Scott Wiley, a play which tells the story of creation from a non-heteronormative perspective.  I love it when I find myself laughing so hard that I have trouble writing on my program the profound line I just heard from the stage.  This was the case Saturday night.  Silliness, sure, but interspersed with those brilliant stabs to ones psyche that widen the eyes and nudge us in our ribs.  And the execution?  Glorious.   Elena Martinez-Vidal pulls off the bemused God character with the ease of a woman who has seen idiocy in action before.  Robin Gottlieb is the idealistic, metaphysician Mabel in the bunch, proving once again that, at the core, the flower children of the sixties were right.  And Paul Kaufman?  Well, the boy can still flat out wear a thong.  (Which, by-the-way, the feminist in me loved the reversal of fortune that the guys were almost nude and the chicks were fully clothed.  Take that, male gaze.) 

So once again, TRUSTUS has delivered — unfortunately to a very small audience last night.  Lucky for you, the play continues through next weekend. So, go see USC’s dance performance on Friday or Saturday night, but on the other night or Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday afternoon, go out and support this fine cutting-edge arts organization.  Do not take for granted the gift to our community that is TRUSTUS Theatre.  We would have much to lose if they ever went away. 

www.trustus.org

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