BWW Review: 15TH ANNUAL SPOKEN WORD PLAY at Theater Of The Seventh Sister
I think it is fun to compare Lancaster County theater companies to members of an imaginary family. Each has its own look, personality and set of priorities. For example. The Rainbow Comedy Playhouse is like the mom. She wants to fix you a plate, and she doesn't approve of all that potty language. The Fulton Theater is the younger sister, maybe a cheerleader. She is pretty and popular, and is liked by almost everyone. EPAC is the bad boy middle sibling. He can be rebellious and a risk-taker. Then there is Theater of the Seventh Sister.
Theater of the Seventh Sister is obviously the brainly first-born. He doesn't obsess with superficial appearances. Instead, he relies on his wits to tell important stories and connect both emotionally and intellectually with his select audience. A prime example of this type ofshow this was their recent 15th Annual Spoken Word Fest
For the last decade and a half, Seventh Sister has produced an evening of poetry and storytelling based around a common there. This year the theme was TRUTH.
Nineteen local poets and storytellers from Central Pennsylvania and beyond convened on the modest stage of the Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster to explore the topic of truth through a diverse array of original selections.
Approximately thirty-five vignettes were presented over the ninety-minute show. Some pieces were somber, others humorous, or especially lyrical. All were thought-provoking and engaging. The quality of the presentations was especially commendable since it was noted that these individuals are skilled writers, but not necessarily experienced performers. I thought they consistently did a great job with volume, pace, and diction.
Limited space prevents me from commenting on all 35 selections, but here is a brief overview of some of my personal favorite moments. Marie Winger presented a fascinating fable titled Truth and Story. It told of how people, otherwise unimpressed or disengaged by dry facts, can be compelled by the same ideas when wrapped in a story. Beth Weaver-Kreider presented The Revision. This poem was enhanced by many title cards used to illustrate how word choice, especially euphemisms, influence our thoughts and beliefs. Poet, Joey DeVoy performed an interesting piece on the nature of addiction. DeVoy has such a unique and captivating look and sound that I would pay to listen to him read from the phone book.
After the show, co-directors Daina Savage and Marie Winger came out to make a few announcements. They thanked the audience and their talented performers. They also briefly traced the history of the Spoken Word Festival and shared some of the challenges and accomplishments that it faced over the past 15 years. Lastly, they said that this will be their last year for the project since they are stepping down to pursue other projects.
This news was met with some surprise and shock from the audience. I was highly impressed with the show and found that it fills an artistic void in the local theater community. I hope that Seventh Sister will consider some way to continue this important endeavor in the future---it is a valuable and unique contribution to the "family tree" of Lancaster Performance Art.
Information about upcoming productions can be found on their homepage at https://seventhsister.com/