The End is Nigh!

By Brian Wilson

‘Well, I’ll eat it,’ said Alice, ‘and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either way I’ll get into the garden, and I don’t care which happens!’ -Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

There are few things that bring audiences more joy than a good con-man screwball comedy farce (or maybe just me). Like a cake, the ingredients are simple: con-man who develops a conscience, love triangle(s), stolen money (can also substitute jewels or obscure sculpture). What writers Matt Lyle and Matt Coleman have done is added this to a backdrop that should be fairly familiar to Dallasites: a Baptist Church.

The premise of the play is that newly arrived Pastor Sam (Jackie Cabe) has used irrefutable bible math to predict the end times to a two hour window — conveniently the length of this play. After an inventive preface that introduces the tone of the play while reminding the audience to turn off their cell phones, we open with Pastor Sam and longtime church member Gracie (Sally Soldo) trying to open a utility closet with a bucket of keys (a clever nod to Matthew 16:19). There is a well executed and rapid pace to the play, introducing the main conflicts that we’re going to need to resolve within the two hour window until the end of the world. Will Martha (played by the incredibly adept Shannon J. McGrann) get pregnant before she’s swooped into heaven? Will youth pastor Robin (another terrific comedic performance by Jeremy Whiteker) be able to resolve the conflict between his sexuality and his faith? Will those crazy kids Troy (Christopher Lew) and Tonya (Alle Mims) find a happy ending? And Sam’s kind-hearted sidekick Al (Jeff Swearingen) find love in the battered Ruth (Stephanie Cleghorn Jasso)?

It’s a lot to weave together and try to wrap up. But Director Jeff Schmidt makes all the pieces fit together in the end (spoiler warning: the world didn’t end). Aside from some minor execution issues throughout the cast in the consistency of their accent, the play was extremely well done. It’s especially hard to find the right amount of jokes about Dick (Chad Cline) as well as incorporate running gags throughout, but the cast and crew pull this off wonderfully. The three card monte routine and “hand sanitizer” gag kept the audience in stitches throughout. The technical aspects of the play were also impressive (Costumes by David Walsh, Lighting by Sarah Harris, Sound by Aaron Johnson and Fight/Intimacy by Jeffrey Colangelo).

The play, like a good cake, leaves you both satisfied and wanting another slice. Additionally, it shows its depth by exploring the ideas of faith, love, sex and death in ways that hold a mirror up to our shared human condition. So consider “Raptured” like the cake that Alice finds that reads “Eat Me”: take a bite and enjoy your expansive view of humanity and this lovely play.

Originally published at on May 16, 2019.



Above average dancer.

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