Monday, May 1, 2017

Review of The New Colony's Scapegoat; Or (Why the Devil Always Loved Us)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Scapegoat; Or (Why the Devil Always Loved Us). It was by Connor McNamara and it was directed by Kristina Valada-Viars. It was about the Porter family who are strongly involved in politics. The father in the family Anse (Norm Woodel) is a senator: the mother Eleanor (Barbara Figgins) is a lobbyist and so is their daughter Margaret (Echaka Agba). Their son Coyote (Evan Linder) is a congressman, and their other daughter Ieza (Cassidy Slaughter-Mason) is married to John Schuler (Jeffrey Owen Freelon, Jr.), who is the senator's chief of staff. The senator has been accused in the press of being a Satanist by Mary Colbourn (Kelli Strickland), a senator who, with Senators Perry Allen (Jack McCabe) and Frank Mason (John Kelly Connolly), wants to pass the "Freedom of Religion" act to protect Christians. It is about how the family deals with those accusations. It is about family, religion, and politics. This show had great actors and I found the story very intriguing.

I really liked the first scene that took place at the Porter family's vacation house. I thought it was super funny when John walked into their house and saw the Satanism shrine and just kind of freaked out because he was not really ready to process that. The way he did actually handle it was quite funny; he walked in and had a mini-panic attack and then collected himself and tried to leave. The rest of the family was calmer around the Satan shrine because it was a part of their family traditions. Eleanor is really sweet to John, which was a great relationship I wish we'd gotten to see more of. At the end of the scene she says something along the lines of, "We're so happy you're part of our family." Ieza was also pretty calm about it, but she felt bad about not telling her husband the full truth of what her dad's religion was. Margaret seems to be very liberal, which I like. She seemed to make some bad decisions in the course of the play, but she makes them for good reasons and she seems to have good morals, which you get to see more clearly at the end.

The senators' scenes were so aggravating--in a good way! They made me want to make sense of the point they were making. I didn't agree with the idea that the Christian faith was being treated unfairly. Definitely not more so than many other people. They are actually the least oppressed people in our country! This topic being discussed on stage was really interesting to watch and see people defending the point on both sides. It was also maddening when they were trying to disguise the freedom of religion act as a subject that you can't say is a bad thing. It doesn't sound like something bad by the name of it, but it is. One of the senators, Mary Colbourn, was not the best at handling a tense situation not involving politics. There was a explosive situation near the end of the play and the whole time that was happening she was just standing by the door. I think this is the reason why she went into the political business. I found it slightly disturbing to watch someone just sit there while someone was having a seizure. I think it is strange how someone so involved in their religion, which is very strongly against not helping people who need help, still stood by doing nothing. I think that's a really sad image, but it was very effective.

I thought that the way the speeches were arranged was really interesting. They used overlapping dialogue for the speeches that led up to the filibuster (a filibuster is like a really long speech used to delay voting on a law). The actors would basically finish each other's sentences and make a more complex one, and change its meaning. I really liked how Anse prepared for a filibuster. He would put on some pink neon tennis shoes because those were his comfortable shoes! I would personally wear pjs and slippers, but he looked more professional than he would in pjs.

People who would like this show are people who like Satan shrines, political families, and neon running shoes. I think that people should go see this show. It is a super engaging plot with really good actors. It taught me a lot about politics and made me think a lot about different political opinions. I really liked it!

Photos: Evan Hanover

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