Friday, April 12, 2019

Church and State—Lyon Theatre—Triangle Productions!



        Twitter Hymn of the Republic

    This topical drama is written by Jason Odell Williams and directed by Devon Lyon.  It is playing at the Triangle theatre space, 1785 NE Sandy Blvd. (free parking lot to the West of the bldg.), through April 27th.  For more information, go to their site at www.LyonTheatrePDX.com

    “We the People…Perfect Union…right to bear arms…created equal…separation of Church & State…pursuit of Happiness…” those Founding Father (and Mothers) sure said a mouthful and had some noble ideas/ideals, didn’t they?!  But they couldn’t have foresaw the world of today, by any stretch of the imagination.  Personally, I think they would be sorely disappointed in what they wrought…brought forth…unleashed onto this once beautiful environment!

    But that was Then, this is Now.  We now have a new god and it’s electronic, replacing the human/spiritual conduits.  An old joke has all the scientists of the world connecting all the computer systems together and asking this ultra-brain, “Is there a God?”  After a slight pause, It answers, “There is Now!”  Is this our Future?!

    But in the Deep South, in the present, a Conservative politician, running for re-election as a Senator, Charles Whitmore (Jeff Gorham), is facing a crisis.  He has just witnessed the aftermath of a school shooting and he is at a crossroads of Faith, as well as Duty.  His wife, Sara (Morgan Cox), is a devoutly, Christian woman (although not the sharpest knife in the drawer), and has always followed the well-worn path of rhetoric in both Church & State, never questioning the veracity or validity of either.

    Whitmore’s devoted campaign manager, Alex (Jaime Langton), a Jewish liberal, goes by the book when generating his speeches.  That is, until a slip-of-the-tongue to Marshall (Jared Mack), a reporter, that because of the recent bloody incident, he now questions the very existence of God and, along those lines, his future stance on gun-control.  A revelation/revolution of sorts that awakens his commitment to his conscience, the Truth, instead of his Party…and that causes all sorts of dilemmas for everyone involved.  To see the stirring outcome, you’ll have to check it out for yourselves, won’t you?!

    I saw this company last Season at this space in a play called, “Of Good Stock,” with some of the same cast, and it was very well done, as is this one.  They have some seasoned players in a new company that deserves to be seen.  The director, Lyon, has a great eye for casting and choosing good and potent material.  Their shows are character-driven and tell stories about important social issues.

    Gorham is a recognizable face on the PDX stages and excels here.  In his character’s political speech, I heard one audience member suggest that if he were running, he’d vote for him.  Very convincing performance.  And Cox is his equal, giving a great deal of depth to her changeable character.  Langton is always good in everything I’ve seen her involved in.  She also plays a person who must evolve or disappear from the arena.  And Mack does well in three smaller roles.

    A couple of personal notes to add to the topics of the story.  Jesus, is reported to have said some very wise things, but was also was a rebel in his time.  Change needs people, if it is to succeed, that are willing to follow their conscience and not the crowd.  Also, when the “bearing arms” rule was written, only single shot pistols and rifles were around and everyone had one.  It was pretty much a non-issue.  Nowadays, the field of arms is blown to ridiculous extremes and I doubt they would have supported a system that has little checks and balances.

    I recommend this play.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

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