The Good News Players of
Clairmont Hills Baptist Church
present an evening of dining and theatre, featuring the presentation of
Tom S. Long
Curtis Smith, DeAne Beebe, Eric King, Jeri Huseth, Marion Simpson, Mark Burkhardt, Marsha Silva, Royce Byrd, and Truman Johnson;
also with the talents of
Joell Rickman, pianist; Lance Whaley, guitarist & Vox Dei; Paul Christopher, banjoist; Jan Collier, directrix; Joyce Ray, overseeress;
Christine Eleazer, Jennifer Stone, & Mary Shannon Peebles, property mistresses.
I'm afraid you've already missed it. We had three evening performances, 28-30 March 1996. So that you can get a flavour of night, let me walk you through the events of Friday's dinner theatre.
Those involved in the play doubled up their duties and also served as waiters and waitresses for the dinner part of the dinner theatre. The guests at my table this evening were all people whom I had invited: my father & mother, my brother & his wife, and my boss & his daughter. Also at the neighbouring table was my wife and her sisters and brothers-in-law.
My boss himself is an part-time actor. I was sure that he would be critiquing my performance.
First I offered a choice of iced tea (sweetened or not), coffee, or water. I think there were some matzo bread on the table with some sort of horseradish sauce. It was not yet the Passover, but more than one person mentioned that connexion.
I served a frozen salad with grapes. My boss's daughter lost one of her primary (baby) teeth while she was eating it; maybe it was a bit too over-frozen.
For the main course, we had some special yummy chicken. I could not do it justice by describing it with my feeble words, so I won't try. There was a choice between French-cut beans and squash casserole. There was some rice and some other stuff.
For dessert was a choice of apple pie à la mode or bread pudding. Both were yummy. The bread pudding had more chocolate than you could imagine: chocolate shavings plentifully blanketing the top plus rich white chocolate sauce.
At some time, we actor types relinquished our waiting duties snuck downstairs for some last-minute preparations. Meanwhile, the guitarist and the banjo player entertained the audience with a selection of diverse songs.
We came up the secret stairwell to the stage. It was almost time. We were probably a little noisier than we ought to have been, but the music was drowning us out, so it didn't matter too much.
Before everything started, the lights had to be turned off so that a couple of us could sneak over to the other side of the stage unnoticed. The nature of the play compelled us to remove the curtain from the stage of the fellowship hall. Whoops! Someone turned the lights back on while I was still walking across. I was sure to-night was off to be a bad start, and I grinned, looking at my feet, with embarrassment as I continued to walk across the stage.
We all then came out and sat on some brightly painted [by me &al.] wooden boxes, and had our opening spoken group chorus "In the beginning, God creates...."
Whenever the cast members aren't doing anything, they're usually sitting at the back of the stage on those boxes. Sometimes, we're off stage, but, not usually.
I sit there during the Garden of Eden scene where the serpent cons Eve into eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Oh no! she passes it onto her husband, and God is not too happy with that! About this time, while I'm sitting on my box on the back, I noticed my boss out in the audience and got a little embarrassed and put my hand over my face, but it fit so well into the action of the play that I don't think anyone thought anything was out of the ordinary.
My next line is a solo loud grunt, followed by an ominous group chant, then followed by a solo narration describing God's plan for man, albeit not too well understood by man yet.
The first real character I played was Isaac, Abraham's son. I twirled around my wife Rebecca in square-dance style, but to-night she almost confused me by twirling in the reverse way from usual.
Let's see, I think I was two of Joseph's brothers: viz., Issachar and Gad. I'm the one responsible for selling him as a slave to the bald hairy Ishmaelite.
I am the one who puts up the golden calf idol while Moses is taking his time getting the ten commandments.
I also played Joshua. That part really didn't have many lines, but I danced around a lot with my trumpet around Jericho, and then I did my kung fu à la Power Rangers spiel as I "decimated the Amorites" (meanwhile, there were some others doing some break dancing to rap music).
There are also some other minor parts that I have, and everyone else has lots of parts, too.
The temporal duration of "The Complete History of the Old Testament in Twenty Minutes" was about 40 minutes. And we didn't really get to go through all of the prophets (well, I did play the prophet Nathan who confronted David). I had previously advised on this web page, "Note that 'Twenty Minutes' is merely part of the title of the work by Mr. Long, and is not necessarily the duration of the performance."
After my initial embarrassments, I performed superbly throughout the remainder of the play.
If you're not quite sure about all these folks are like Eve, Joseph, and Joshua, check out the Bible for more details.
Many people have asked me where they can get a copy of the script: try Baker's Plays; 100 Chauncy Street; Boston, Massachussets 02111, U.S.A.; +1 (617) 482-1280.