BWW Review: Three Influential Women Invite the VP to Dinner in COME TO THE TABLE, MIKE PENCE, at CoHo's Summerfest
Vice President Mike Pence follows the "Billy Graham rule." This means he will never eat alone with a woman who isn't his wife. He also won't attend functions where alcohol is served unless his wife accompanies him. Why? Is he that afraid of temptation? In COME TO THE TABLE, MIKE PENCE, this weekend's featured show at CoHo's Summerfest, Shaking the Tree Theatre enlists some of the most influential women in history to help Pence see that he has much more to fear from marginalizing half of the population than he does from simply sitting down to a meal with them.
The Billy Graham rule came out of meetings several evangelists held in 1948, where they identified the biggest problems facing evangelism. One of those problems was sexual immorality, so the evangelists pledged to never be alone with a woman who wasn't their wife. As many have pointed out, one problem with our Vice President, or anyone else in a position of power, subscribing to this particular philosophy is that it effectively excludes women from having the same workplace opportunities as men.
In COME TO THE TABLE, MIKE PENCE, three powerful women work to convince our VP to sit down for a meal.
First, a modern-day version of Eve (played by Anya Pearson) appeals to science, arguing that, like figs and fig wasps, men and women have a symbiotic relationship that doesn't work when one of them is absent. Then, Salome (Rebecca Foster) invites Pence to the table, challenging him to see her as someone worth talking and listening to, not just looking at. Finally, Queen Elizabeth I (Matthew Kerrigan) orders Pence to dine with her, advising him to consider how he might be judged by history.
When he doesn't show, the three sit down to the meal together, an occasion that does, indeed, become the type of situation Pence is so afraid of. And then it changes into something more sinister, suggesting that there are much worse consequences at stake if people continue to be shut out of the conversation.
I enjoyed COME TO THE TABLE, MIKE PENCE. It was provocative, thoughtful, and also quite funny. As we navigate this strange time in U.S. history, plays like this are important for reminding us that our country is made up of many different types of people, and we all deserve a seat at the table. Also, Matthew Kerrigan (IMO one of the most talented actors in Portland right now) is brilliant as Queen Elizabeth I.
COME TO THE TABLE, MIKE PENCE runs through the end of this weekend. Find more details about the show and the rest of Summerfest here.