Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Review of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble's How the World Began

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called How the World Began. It was by Catherine Trieschmann and it was directed by Keira Fromm. It was about this woman named Susan Pierce (Rebecca Spence) who has just moved from the city to a small town in Kansas. She is pregnant and she teaches science. There has been a huge tornado recently and she comes there to help them because she feels sorry for them. She was working with a very troublesome student named Micah Staab (Curtis Edward Jackson) who refuses to see that she didn't mean to say that people who believe in in God are dumb. She doesn't want to say they are all dumb; she just doesn't believe in God. But she does need to learn how to accept Christians as people and not just ideas. Micah's guardian, Gene Dinkel (Keith Kupferer), is trying to excuse Micah's rudeness by explaining what he is trying to say. But Micah doesn't like the idea of himself being spoken for. This play is about beliefs, science, and respect. I thought that this was a really great play because it makes you think a lot about what you believe in and how other people can influence you so much. I wasn't able to see it until closing weekend, but I hope they do a remount because it was very successful.

I think that Micah seemed like a troubled kid. Something really bad had happened to him when the tornado came. And he lost his parents. To make his life even more hard, his guardian is too overprotective and doesn't think Micah should fight his own battles, which I think he should be able to at this age. I find his story really sad. One part of his performance that I thought really drew me more into the story was that whenever the tornado drills would happen he would get so scared that he would just hide under a table. He is very religious and he thinks that if anyone offends God that God will take it out on the entire town. I'm not sure whether Catherine Trieschmann believes in God or not because it seemed like after Micah had told Susan that if she offended God something bad would happen, something bad happened. That kind of indicates that she does believe in God, but then sometimes she seems to put everything into Susan's perspective, but Susan doesn't believe in God. I really like how she is not just making the story from one voice; she is making a point about both ways of thinking: that both make sense to the people who think them. As long as no one hurts themselves or other people because they have different religions, then it is okay to express your opinion. Since there is no way to know when you are alive, then everyone can believe what they want.

Susan seems to be the main character and you follow her perspective the most and it is mostly about her problems. She is going to have a kid and I think that it must be hard because she is going to have to be a single mom but she is going to raise him in a little town so he is away from his father and she feels like it is more safe. I think that she is a good person a lot of the time and I can understand why she gets so angry when the person she is talking is not using any empathy and is not seeing that other people can believe different things than he does--which is not the right thing to do. The right thing to do is to listen to the people around you. But that is not what she does either, which is why it makes everything so frustrating and interesting, because you can't choose sides. Each person has a point and each person is being kind of an idiot about something. Her point is that everyone can have their own beliefs, but she says a lot of very hurtful things to Micah about his religion. So, you aren't really sure if she actually has empathy.

Gene is more toward the believing-strongly-in-God side, but he is less pushy about it. This makes him seem like a nicer person. The thing is a lot of people would choose Gene's way of doing things, but there are some unlikable things about him too. He sugarcoats everything and tries to say people's opinions for them. It is good to be a peacemaker some of the time, but don't step into people's arguments and talk for them. He thinks that it is really easy to cure their argument, but it isn't. There needs to be a conclusion; he can't just bring her a pie and make everything better. He is trying to have empathy, and I think he has the most empathy of anyone in the show because he is actually trying to see things from other people's perspectives. He does just believe what he believes, but he does try to see what other people think. He wants everyone to get what they want, but then he doesn't do so well with that. It is not until he leaves them alone that they actually talk to each other like they are both humans. At the end Micah gives Susan money for her and her baby and Susan tries to comfort him when there is a tornado. But that doesn't mean that they both believe the same things, it just means they are starting to try to accept that there are different kinds of people in the world and try to treat them like humans.

People who would like this show are people who like interesting stories, being able to see different perspectives, and pie. This was a really great show. I loved watching it. I was so dragged into the story. I found it really interesting and I am still thinking about it.

Photos: Michael Brosilow

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