Van Til Tool

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

AMERICA'S CHRISTIAN HERITAGE CLEARLY SEEN IN FRANK WILDHORN'S "THE CIVIL WAR" DRAMA

AMERICA'S CHRISTIAN HERITAGE CLEARLY SEEN IN
FRANK WILDHORN'S THE CIVIL WAR DRAMA


By Forrest Wayne Schultz


On Friday night I saw a performance of The Civil War oratorio, whose composition was based on a careful study of historical documents, so that what is presented to the audience is authentic, by allowing the persons involved to speak for themselves. Among the many striking features of this performance was how how much of the conversations, songs, speeches, letters, and writings was infused with christian ideas and attitudes. And this, by the way, is not a "christian" play! It is because it is so historically authentic that you hear and see all of these christian ideas and principles in the songs and actions on the stage. (This is not to say that every single idea in it is christian -- there is one scene where the soldiers are getting drunk and praising their whiskey!)

The ending of it, though, is difficult to assess. The final scene is Heaven where three angels, on top of their usual attire, are enrobed in American flags!! They welcome the deceased soldiers -- both Confederate and Union -- into Heaven with their arias, while standing on an elevated platform. By the way, the flags were subtly draped around the angels' bodies so that you cannot tell if they are Union or Confederate flags! (That is one thing they did not get from any historical documents!! -- at least, none I ever heard of.!!)

Anyway, aside from that strange ending, everything in it was historically accurate, so that the prominence of Christian thoughts and attitudes in it bears witness to the research we have been reading about America's christian heritage. Not only that, it is one thing to READ about that, but to see it ENACTED on stage really makes the point. After the performance several members in the audience remarked about that point!!

This is a national play that has been around for several years. From time to time a particular theatre company decides to put it on, which, by the way, must meet certain guidelines set forth by the company that owns the play. If it ever comes to where you live, be sure to see it. If you are involved in a theatre company, consider putting it on. BUT, be warned, this will require a large cast and there is a large number of songs -- the actors have to be good singers as well -- or at least those in solos or duets. The company that put it on here was one of the very best in our area. You also will need a pretty large stage and a very large screen in the background to project images onto.

Information on the play/oratorio is available on the Frank Wildhorn website at this particular spot:

http://frankwildhorn.com/projects/civilwar/


[By the way, this oratorio is not in any way to be confused with a silly one with a similar title which takes lines from Handel's Messiah and twists them around and uses them as a spoof on The Civil War, e.g. these knee-slappers: Alexander Stephens singing "O Thou that tellest good tidings to Dixie"; the Army recruits singing "For unto us a gun is given". OK, you get the idea. This is emphatically NOT the one I am talking about!!]

Sincerely,

Forrest

P.S. If you live near Atlanta and want to see it next weekend , Nov. 21 & 22, click on here for info: http://www.thetwili ghttheatre. com/The_Civil_ War/index. html

The performance will be held in The Wadsworth (named after the famed classical musician Charles Wadsworth, who is a native of Newnan) in Newnan, GA. Click on the link above for details. F.

1 Comments:

  • At Sunday, February 08, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have seen this, I believe two times in Dallas Fort Worth. One at Fair Park in Dallas and one at Bass Hall in Fort Worth. If this musical I thought it was great and I would also recommend it. Also 1776 was a great musical was on the early decisions colonial representatives in America made with a similar genre that I would encourage you to see if it comes to your area.

     

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