Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Play Unveils Lent and Holy Week Themes

A significant theater event is happening March 5 - 7 when the play "Pulling Back the Earth" is unveiled for the first time. Twenty years in the making, Mark Turner's play will be presented as "theater of the mind" featuring dramatic readers, folk choir with ethnic percussion and original visual art.

Produced by St. Paul's Cathedral Center for Performing and Visual Arts in collaboration with Horizon Gate Productions, the play features an extensive sound track of music and sound effects.

The drama tells of a young couple banished to "the outer space" for believing other humans exist besides their tribe. On their quest for vindication, they encounter threats that drive them to their limits: unknown sounds echoing in the atmosphere, stars appearing on the earth, fears of demons waiting for the imminent delivery of their first child.

Turner said of his play, "As the characters dig up progressive revelations of language, ancestry, and relations between vastly different peoples, the audience will be riveted to the life and death choices being made for both past and future humanity. The themes are especially appropriate for Lent and Holy Week."

The cast includes Carol Sawyer, Donna Turner, James Paraiso, Margie Oslie, Mark Turner and Steve Heyl.

Featured musician and ethnomusicologist, N. Scott Robinson, Ph.D., employs a wide range of instruments which he has collected from around the world including various frame and wood drums, didgeridoo, Vietnamese jaw harp, Brazilian Berim Bau, bamboo flute and an Mbira Array. As Assistant Professor at San Diego Mesa College, he directs the World Music Ensemble and teaches percussion, Western music history, popular music, and ethnomusicology/world music.

The folk choir features soloists Margie Oslie and Leigh Taylor who capture the soul of the tribe whose story is told.

 A sample of the hieroglyphics from which the story was taken.
Guest artists have contributed specially painted backdrops which will be projected behind the actors. Phil Petrie is an accomplished abstract expressionist with frequent showings in San Diego. Dwaine Best is a long-standing scenic artist at La Jolla Playhouse.

Each performance will be followed by a conversation with the playwright, cast and artists. The Saturday Matinee will be followed by a simple supper and extended discussion to which ticket-holders from all performances are invited.

Performances will be in the Great Hall of St. Paul's Cathedral, San Diego, at 7:00 pm Thursday and Friday, March 5 and 6. The Saturday matinée will be at 4:00 pm followed by a 6:00 pm supper ($5 donation). Tickets may be purchased online at, at the information table after Cathedral services and at the door.

-Mark Turner

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