Mass Appeal is a comedy-drama that focuses on the conflict between a complacent pastor and an idealistic young intern exploring the nature of friendship, courage, and love. This play by Ken Wright and Brady Huffman will be staged in Damazo Amphitheater, Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m.,-March 25-26 and April 1-2. Sponsored by the School of Religion Humanities Program.
Review from Curtain Up:
Mass Appeal presents a struggle between right and wrong, as heavy-handedly personified by its two characters, Father Farley and a young priest-in-training, Mark Dolson (Paul McGrane). The central religious discussions -- should women and celibate gay men be priests -- seem less controversial today than then, not because they have been resolved but simply because there seems so little light emanating from such discussions. The central moral issues are also from well-worn paths: Is it OK to lie? Do the ends justify the means? Is comfortable complacency such a bad thing -- as long as collection plate revenues don't drop off?
Straddling this heavy debate is a fairly funny two-man play that manages to keep the audience entertained. This entertainment is not without cost, however, since it relies on the full catalog of Catholic priest stereotypes to deliver a good part of its humor. (Farley is a burgundy-drinking, Mercedes-driving, golf-loving, racing form-reading Irishman of the cloth. The priesthood seems to be the confluence of men with homosexual tendencies and those with homophobic ones -- perhaps not with mutual exclusion.)
All hell breaks loose, no pun intended, when a witch hunt against two seminarians suspected of homosexual behavior commences. When he speaks out in their defense, Dolson is forced to acknowledge his own experimentation on both sides of the fence.
After reading the review above, one wonders what such a play could possibly add to the people of the Loma Linda community. And perhaps more importantly, what is the spiritual cost of such drama?
Another reviewer put it this way:
This play is Catholic, secular, and exposes the community to topics of gay, WO, makes people SDA laugh at sin, and presents the viewpoint of the political correct culture on these topics of sin. Therefore, desensitizing SDA to sin and politically correct culture -- can create/promote a lust in some audience members to seek out other sin-watching such as on the internet?
The entire congregation of LLUC and the community is invited to this play via the church bulletin -- no age limit. The play is considered PG -- but I think the topics should be rated R -- and parents warned about what the topics really are rather than the innocent sounding blurb in the church bulletin.
Church bulletin: "exploring the nature of friendship, courage, and love."
Reality: 'comedy exploring WO and homosexuality, and sexual experimentation, from Catholic priests.' Put that in the church bulletin!
The LLU money could be spent on enrichment, exploring healthy religious topics, and being an event that SDA members could invite their non-SDA friends to. I would be embarrassed to invite my friends to this event, and I am embarrassed to see it in the bulletin for non-SDAs to see.
Always presenting campus and community events of enrichment of the faith is the goal of other universities such as Azusa Pacific and Biola. You will never see such "sinful" events presented by these other southern California religious colleges -- for their own people and for the community. What are we doing? You decide, friend.
"If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:3).