Monday, January 20, 2014

A Mighty Fortress is Our Basement

Most people enjoy remembering "the good old days" especially the large audience at The Arts Center at Iowa Western Community College last Friday. Everyone returned to the year of 1960 in a Lutheran church basement surrounded by friends and relatives who were mostly of Scandinavian ancestry for "A Mighty Fortress is Our Basement".
The play began with Beverly, a young teen, reviewing her Luther Small Catechism for her upcoming confirmation. She had memorized the entire small book along with Martin Luther's explanation of each one which ended with, "This is most certainly true". She nervously was preparing for the final questions which was witnessed by the entire congregation while wearing her first pair of high heels while others were preparing for the wedding reception for their pastor.

For Beverly's mother, Karin, finding her daughter growing up presents her with a mixture of pride and tears. Pride of her daughter's accomplishments and tears of a childhood quickly slipping past her. Karin possesses a driver's license but does not drive any distance. Can she learn how to handle a car with a stick shift? Can she write a check without her husband?

For farm wife, Mavis Gilmerson, life in the church is a luxury compared to her daily duties. However, she has many concerns about that new Eisenhower Highway that wants to cut through the middle of her land. For those unacquainted with the Eisenhower Highway, that became what we now know as the interstate system across our country.
Mrs. Vivian Snustad is a longtime member of the church and really isn't in favor of their pastor remarrying. It has been three years since his wife passed away. Isn’t this a little too soon for his upcoming nuptials?
This delightful comedy was a blast from the past. The music was engaging and upbeat. The performers with Tim Drake as Pastor, Kay Francis as Vivian, Nikki Savitt as Mavis, Carrie SaLoutos as Karin, and Kimberly Steffen as Beverly were all superb.
The show was a true time capsule into 1960 with everyone dressing as Jackie Kennedy, women just beginning to drive long distances, the complaints of a church congregation changing hymnals, women realizing that they can sign a check on their own, the minister living in a parsonage that allows for no privacy, and Brylcreem, "a little dab will do ya".
Compared to the previous two shows in the "Church Basement Ladies" series. These shows are for an audience who can easily remember 1960 and life at that time. This one was a little longer and definitely had more engaging and comical. The music was great fun with "All Heaven Broke Loose" being enjoyed by the cast and the audience.
What will “Church Basement Ladies” do next year? I'm certain that their 1960s will be a great show.

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