Saturday night Lady Jane and I attended a play at First Presbyterian Theater in downtown Fort Wayne. We attended the final showing of 'The Way We Live Now: 25 Years Later,' three short plays to commemorate The AIDS Task Force 25th anniversary (article here). It was a very enjoyable night.
Actually, the reason we went was because the class Jane is currently taking required that she get some "culture." One option was to attend a theater event, and then dinner at a "real" restaurant to discuss it. Due to time constraints we couldn't do both on the same night, so we may have dinner tonight (maybe Henry's).
So Jane found out this play was taking place this weekend, and we'd heard of FPT but never attended anything there before, and even though there was an Illinois basketball game on tv... we went. It is at the corner of Wayne and Ewing streets, right by the library. There is plenty of parking, and it is easily accessible from either side of the church. I was glad some others were arriving when we did though, because I had no idea where the entrance was. So we just followed the people ahead of us.
Having never been to one of the big churches downtown, and being a pastor at a small country church, I was quite taken by First Presbyterian Church building. Wow, it is awesome, inside and out. I wish we could have looked around more. But we walked into the large foyer, followed the signs downstairs, and they have a very cool theater in the basement. As a plus, they also had artwork displayed in the basement area from Manchester College (which wasn't at all like the church basements I am used to). We bought our tickets, mingled in the hall for a while, then made our way into the theater. And such a cool little theater at that (have I already said that). I suppose it seats a couple hundred, in sloped theater seating. A nice little place. The only downside was the $18 ticket price. But what do I know about the cost of these things.
As far as the play, let me just say... I am no critic or reviewer, so don't expect that... But here's what I thought. The first act was a staged reading by 5 actors giving voice to 26 characters. It was interesting, but a little hard for me to follow sometimes. I did finally start to catch on, and it was fairly good. The readers were excellent. Next was a one-man staging of a guy in a police station after the death of a friend to AIDS. This was when the profanity really started to fly. It was funny, because at first the audience was laughing at the humor, but all of a sudden - after the first time the actor detailed an account of f-ing his friend - things got real serious real fast and you could have heard a pin drop. I thought this was done really well, especially considering the director was standing in for the actor who had usually done it. Having the script in front of him didn't detract from it at all. And, while surprised at the language at first (the f-word flew frequently) - especially since it was in a church - it actually fit with the content, and would have seemed odd had it not been done like this. It made it real. The final act - a scene at a funeral - was pretty touching. Very well done, and something that makes you think about other angles to the death of someone with AIDS.
So, again, I was really glad I came. And perhaps the best part was just finding this theater in the first place. In reading through the program, the director notes... "Here at FPT we choose plays that are not only entertaining (they must be entertaining to be listened to), but also provide the possibility of learning, and hence the possibility of changing. As our statement of purpose says, '...it would be poor [...] stewardship of a valuable facility, if the presentations in the theater were limited to either polite drawing room comedies or religious pageantry.'" Wow. Yes! And if you like that, check out their Statement of Purpose. It's a bit long, but for a church... this is very cool (imho).
All in all a nice experience, and a good idea by Jane's teacher. I feel better for having been "cultured," and found a really cool church, and theater, in the process. :)
Peace out; and in.