INOLA ON THE AISLE @ MITF: FALL
Jewel Box Theatre @ Workshop Theatre Company
312 West 36th Street, 4nd Floor, New York, NY
On Friday, November 06, 2015
The stage setting gives the audience a confirmation that it is in a church environment. There is a well-decorated table with a candle stick and a chalice that sit on it. The performance begins when a priest enters the stage and he kneels down in front of the table. Suddenly, Arnie runs into the church. He startles the priest, and the priest picks up a baseball bat to defend himself. Arnie explains the purpose for his intrusion to the priest. He confesses that he had a vision that he’s going to die at midnight. The priest instructs him to go to the hospital.
Arnie responds to the priest that you can’t fool fate. He gives the priest a summation of his vision. The priest is not too happy to hear most of what Arnie has to say to him. However, Arnie continues to tell the priest that he was pushed around by others since his childhood; and even God is pushing him around now. The priest listens to Arnie as he continues to enlighten him about the type of guy he has been throughout his life. Arnie states to the priest that he became an educated man, and he acquired degrees in order to avoid living in poverty. He expounds further how he did everything against what other people had to say about him not being able to do. Arnie explains that criticism from others became his source of energy and determination.
The priest listens attentively to Arnie for a while before he asks him about the time of night. The audience laughs after the priest’s response. The priest informs him that he’s not Westminster Abbey or the Big Ben. For those people who may not know, he’s referring to the big clock in London, England. Arnie needs to see a clock or watch in order for him to check the time of night.
The priest finds out from the man that he is afraid of the dark, and he tries to instruct Arnie as to the procedures before a confession is heard by him or another priest. The priest says to the man that a few Hail Marys’ and some other words are appropriate before his confession. This is new to Arnie because he is not familiar with the Catholic doctrine. The man tries to tell the priest about a classmate of his during his earlier years in school, and how this guy used confession in order to gain absolution although he was a very bad youth. The priest tries to find out more information about Arnie, and he tells him about his experiences in a church. Arnie states that his mother was a very religious woman, and while he was in church with her, he hid behind the church’s organ and he damaged his ear drum. Arnie enlightens the priest that he was very much ashamed of his mother’s behavior in the church.
The man sits on the chair and he realizes that his watch was in his pocket. The priest finds his watch, too; and he looks at the time. The thought of death still looms in the mind of Arnie and he gets up off the chair. The priest takes a seat and he drinks from the chalice. At that moment, the audience perceives that the priest deserves a drink. He has his own problems, too. Arnie talks about how passive his father was in life, and how he always wanted out of every situation by grinding down on his teeth. Arnie’s father accepted his fate in life, and he accepted what and how other people viewed him without fighting back. Arnie informs the priest of his family background, and he mentions the punishment his father received at the hands of his mother. Perhaps his father was a battered spouse.
The priest and Arnie get into a very philosophical conversation. The priest tells him not to worry, and he defines what worrying means. Arnie claims that he was penalized for his good work at times, and he confesses all about his ability to lie on a regular basis. Now, the priest allows him to unburden himself; and he reveals his short comings without reservations. The priest gets Arnie to confess the number of times when he lied. Arnie tells the priest about his love life, too. He lets the priest know how he used to enjoy his one-night stands with women. There were no strings attached in his behavior with women. The priest allows Arnie to realize his full potential in thoughts, and he explains, breaks it down, to him how to live through the analogies of life. The priest reminds him that he needs to put some color into his life, and he reminds him that death is life and life is death. The priest encourages Arnie to go on living.
The writer’s message in this performance reaches the audience to its core. Arnie’s encounter with the priest allows him to turn his life around for the best. The priest assists Arnie to exercise his faith in humanity. Save a life today! Arnie has to live his life on the next level. I will surely recommend this play to theatre goers.