So, after my post earlier this month about creative things I would like to do more of, I caught a cold. And that cold allowed me time to do nothing by lie in bed (after work) and read…plays. I managed to read 2 plays in 2 days, and was inspired to read many more. Then the holidays came, and I haven’t had a chance to read a play again until tonight.
The thing with reading plays is that it’s really best for me if I read them in one sitting, since that is how they are meant to be experienced: in one full 2-hour watching. Which makes them a great quick read, but not a good book to read at work on my 10 minute breaks. I figured I also better start blogging about the plays I read so that I can remember something about them when recommending shows to the awesome young theatre company that I’m going to get involved with…someday…
I picked Mrs. Packard because it’s the next show that George Fox University Theatre is doing, and it sounded like a really great story for their audiences. One of my favorite thing about attending George Fox and working on theatre there was that we could pick shows that dealt with faith and asked questions about “how we live our lives as people of faith”. We then got to have discussions and work with others who at least respected our religious beliefs, even if they didn’t agree with them. Encouraging discussion about life issues, experience them through story, and telling these great stories was what I love/ed most about theatre. That and the shiny sequins and jazz hands, of course. 🙂
This is something that I have lost working in professional theatre. I don’t know if it’s because I’m scared to be cut down or to have to defend my seemingly ever-dwindling beliefs, or if others just don’t care, or because it doesn’t sell, or I feel the need to be neutral as a Stage Manager…But whatever the reason, those faith-affirming conversations rarely come up at my current place of work (we do shows mostly for entertainment and to sell tickets, as opposed to start discussions), and when conversations do come up, I pretty much stay out of them unless someone asks me a direct question.
All that to say: I like this play. A lot. I would love to work on this play and see how it moved audiences. It has so many elements that I adore: faith, Female protagonist, social justice, real ending, and is based on a real person. I’m not sure how well the structure of the play will work on stage, but I find the story of Mrs. Packard’s character compelling, hard, and inspiring. I don’t think I could have held on to my faith if I was in her place. I think I would have denied my beliefs so that I could be with my children. But at the same time, I would like to try to be like her and I admire her.
If you are in the PDX area in February, and any interest in religious freedom or women’s rights issues, go see this show at GFU. I don’t think I can get any time off of work, but if I can, I am going to fly up there to see this one.