Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Civilians at Colorado College

By Warren Epstein

The Civilians didn’t save our city.

But their show, “Save This City” performed last weekend at Colorado College’s Armstrong Hall, did capture the essence of Colorado Springs’ religious community with a passion and immediacy that other media haven’t been able to match.

The acclaimed troupe from New York and CC drama students transformed dozens of interviews into a series of monologues, dialogues and musical numbers. I got the sense that each of the portrayals was performed with sincerity and empathy, making this not a spoof of the evanglical movement but an honest portrait.

This is documentary theater, done on the fly, but with flourish and charisma. None of the characters are named, but you can figure most of them out.

Among the highlights were a monologue with a man who had to be Marcus Haggard, Ted Haggard’s son, discussing his father’s fall, and Bishop Michael Sheridan, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs.

His talk about following God’s will instead of your own was turned into a haunting production number called “Do What You Ought.”

During the Q&A last Friday, a liberal member of the community criticized the show for being too sympathetic to the evangelical community.

She argued that she'd seen the ugly part of that community, a side that didn't make this show.

That may be so, but I think there may be some resentment about seeing an alternate point of view as yours portrayed in such a sympathetic way.

A friend complained that the show didn't portray the true scope of our community. After all, we're a city with a church attendance that's actually lower than the national average. The truth is a complicated picture.

But I don't think that was what The Civilians wanted to do. They weren't doing a portrait of our community as much as they were examining the evangelical movement as seen through the lens of our community.

The show will next go to New York, where it will be refined and reshaped and, ultimately, put on the road.

We'll keep you updated about plans to bring it back here.


Anonymous darksandal said...

Why did it take the Gazette so long to write about this. Why no preview, no review in the paper. Seems like it was a pretty big deal given the amount of time they spent in the community?

7:21 AM  
Blogger Mark Arnest said...

We did cover it. Big story by Paul Asay, cover of Lifestyle section, Saturday Feb. 3rd.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous darksandal said...

ah, I looked in Life on Thursday, Go! on Friday and saw nothing. Now I know.

11:56 AM  
Blogger University said...

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