A.D. Players continues their season with their second show “Mass Appeal.” Founder and Artistic Director Jeannette Clift George offered her usual kind, inviting welcome before the start of the production.
The Manhattan Theatre Club first presented this show in 1980. It went on to be shown on Broadway the following year. Joey Watkins directs this two-man cast bringing the strength in each actor and getting to the heart of the production. Lighting by Mark A. Lewis plays a pivotal role as well with setting up mood and transitioning between sets.
A.D. Players’ resident actors Rich Hodgin and Braden Hunt star. Father Tim Farley (Hodgin) offers crowd pleasing and easy to hear sermons, making him popular and widely loved. One Sunday seminary student Mark (Hunt) comes to shake things up, by challenging his stance on ordaining women. Like most young intelligent zealous students, Mark makes an impression, enough to get called to a meeting with the Father. Despite all reasoning, the Father becomes a mentor as Mark transitions to deacon and continues his pursuit of priesthood.
Hunt plays the idealistic, challenging deacon with heart. He has both dramatic intrigue and comedic timing. He goes from troublesome, inquisitive seminary student to passionate deacon with ease. Hodgin complements him on stage. Hodgin approaches the stage much like his character with a charismatic quiet ease. Hodgin has the parental feel as we watch him struggle internally with what Hunt’s character presents him.
As Mark preaches to Father Farley’s congregation, it becomes apparent how different each character and their values are. Mark has the youthful, spirited pursuit and desire for preaching and preparing sermons. Father Farley has fallen into towing the line and as the play comes to its climax audience clearly see how the battle lines are drawn.
Playwright Bill C. Davis clearly draws on extensive spiritual knowledge with his content and characters. He sets up the audience with hard questions that not only torment the characters but also makes the audience reflect on their own spirituality. This play gets in your face and although is speckled with comic relief, at the heart is a biting religious drama. Audiences won’t be able to leave the same as they came in.
“Mass Appeal” runs through Nov. 16. For tickets, visit their website at www.adplayers.org or pick them up at the door. Be sure to stick around after each show for a question and answer. It allows you time to interact and reflect upon this powerful, moving play. Browse the website to see what is yet to come on both the main stage and for the children’s theater.