I do admit that St. Louis may not exactly be the most happening place in the US of A, but if you keep track, there is always a bunch of stuff happening over the weekend.
One of our favorite things to do is to keep track of the University Theater circuit. There are always student performances up, and some really good visiting actor groups.
We actually caught some great plays. One was “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller performed by the dramatics department of University of Missouri, St Louis (UMSL). Based on the Salem witch trials, this play examines the power of superstition and hysteria as it grips a town of seemingly rationale people. Most of the actors in the UMSL production were senior year students who were quite remarkable in their roles. The only problem was in the acoustics of the actual theater.
I have read the screenplay before and realize that it provides a very powerful social commentary. Even if you cant catch the play in your city , I would recommend everyone to read it.
Another performance that I happen to catch, was that of the play “Shadowlands” presented by the Mustard Seed Theater ( isn’t that lovely name?). This play written by William Nicholsan, describes the relationship between the famous British writer, CS Lewis and Joy Gresham. This play is based on actual events.
Honestly speaking I had no expectations from it. But within the five minutes, I was hooked. Split into two acts – the first act focuses on CS Lewis bachelor life, his correspondence with Mrs. Joy Gresham and their first meeting and their marriage of convenience. The first act is bitter sweet, witty and thoroughly entertaining. The second act focuses on Joy’s illness which brings Lewis feelings towards her into the open. It focuses on their short but loving relationship and ends at Joy’s tragic death. Throughout the play we see struggle Lewis struggle with his faith and his changing thoughts about the nature of God.
As this was a professional production, the quality of acting was quite incredible. Gary Wayne Baker, Chair of the Fine Arts Department, St. Louis University gave a very good performance in the role of Lewis. Kelley Ryan, was delightful and charming as Joy Gresham. The supporting cast was really good too. I would definitely watch more productions by Mustard Seed theatre.