Abortion Did Not End My Problems, It Began Them
I hope I did not just ruin that line. I also pray that this post is coherent. It's been a long day and I'm tired. I pray that I do the drama justice. But, I wanted to get this post up soon because I want you all to know about it.
The technical stuff: "The Vitae Monologues" is a two-person drama, on a sparse set. In the middle of the set is a projection screen that is used to great effect to give the impression of setting and send messages. I don't want to give too much away but it's used very well. The drama alternates to either side of the stage by lighting one actor and darkening the other. The entire drama is acted by Founder and Director, Jeremy Stanbary and, Actress and Assistant Director, Sarah Preissner. They are seperated thru almost all of the drama-hence, the title. It's very much an alternating monologue. One speaks, the other is silent and vice versa.
Stanbary and Preissner play different, unamed, people in the drama. They effortlessly signal a change in character only by posture and changing or adding some article of clothing while the spotlight is off their side of the stage. The technical crew did a very good job with timing the lighting.
The music by Nicholas Lemme is very well done. It adds to the monologues but is not intrusive. At one point, the only music is the sound of a baby's heartbeat which goes horrifyingly silent-you can probably guess why.
I've always thought that Jeremy Stanbary is one of the most riveting stage presences I know. He always does a phenomenal soliloquy. Sarah Preissner is his equal in this drama. She's astonishing. I'm looking forward to many years of their inspired apostolate when they are married! :-)
This is wrenching and powerful stuff. I walked out of the auditorium after almost 1 1/2 hours feeling like I'd been turned inside out. Several people were sniffling. I was wiping tears away.
I don't want to give too much detail away-you should see it for yourself. I will say that the drama made me reflect mightily upon judgement and forgiveness-not what you might think. Not a societal looking glass; but a glass in which I gaze upon myself. I was already firmly pro-life and on the side of the unborn child when I entered the theater, but now I realize how much I forgot about the other victims: the mother, the father, relatives and friends. As much as a child dies in an abortion clinic, so, too, does the woman in the stirrups, the man in the waiting car. The drama brought home the emotional damage abortion causes years after the event. Abortion kills hope-a line from the drama.
I never use the word "play" in referring to "The Vitae Monologues". "Play" doesn't fit. This is drama-and even that word seems weak. These are real stories. "Vitae Monologues" is based upon real stories of post-abortive men and women. You will hear them. They will speak to you. It's real.
The only disappointment I had was wondering where everybody was? The opening was lightly attended-maybe 90 people. I know it's Friday in Lent so maybe all the Catholics were at Stations of the Cross? That said, you will all be there tomorrow night, right? You have two more chances to see it this weekend: 7:30 tomorrow night (Feb 28) or 1:30 p.m. Sunday (March 1) at University of St. Thomas, O'Shaughnessy Education Center Auditorium. Tickets are $12/adult, $8/student. FFI: 651-336-3302 for more information. Group discounts (25%) are available for groups of 10 or more. A portion of the proceeds of all performances of "Vitae Monologues" will be donated to support the work of Silent No More Minnesota
Epiphany Studios wants to be able to take this production on the road. They, especially, strive to target college campuses (it was premiered on the campus of the University of St. Thomas). After the play, Mr. Stanbary remarked that THRU LENT they have a $5,500 matching grant; so if you've thought about supporting the work of Epiphany Studios this would be a great time! Their website, with information on where you can send donations, is here