Written and performed by David Templeton
Directed by David Yen
January 20, 27 and February 3, 2010
8:00 PM
142 Throckmorton Theater

Beware of the man whose god is in the skies
George Bernard Shaw

This fast paced, creatively directed one man show is the true story of David Templeton’s experience as a teenage fundamentalist Christian. But it is far, far more than that. It is the story of what extreme measures we feel driven to do as human beings when we don’t fit into the accepted mold. Man is a social animal and wants to belong to a society. It is basic to our nature. Yet, in this present world, society puts so many limitations on what is acceptable and what is not, that almost everyone with a brain has periods of time when he feel ousted from where he wants to be, when he misses the comfort of belonging. As Templeton stood on that stage and described his childhood, the smart remarks and clever word twists that were supposed to make me laugh brought tears to my eyes. I saw the bright, innovative and creative child he once was squelched at every turn because he didn’t embrace what was “cool”. As a child, he tried to use reason to deal with his parents divorce, their conflicting realities and his own struggle to live harmoniously in a world that diverged from his pictures of right, wrong and good.

“This is the story of a man’s coming of age,” said director, David Yen. “It is a story about the joy of finding one’s people, the struggle of feeling inadequate and the value of questioning authority.”

Templeton has been writing in the North Bay for over fifteen years and we have all read many of his revues and thoughtful features in publications such as Theatre Bay Area Magazine and The Pacific, where you can enjoy his column Talking Pictures. He is often seen on stage and not just at his annual hit production, A TWISTED CHRISTMAS at the Unitarian Glaser Center in Santa Rosa but also in The Wizard of Oz, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare(Abridged), among other productions here in the bay area. .

His experiences as told on stage are mesmerizing because they are not just HIS stories. They are the conflicts of every caring human being, seeking to be accepted. How many of us mistake belonging to a group as our valid participation in the human race. Templeton tells us that he was very taken with the hymn “Amazing Grace” and he says, “I had no idea where Grace was leading me.”

She led him to Jesus. When he discovered the groups devoted to this acclaimed son of God, he was swept into a world of dogma and a cult of ritual that Welcomed him with open arms and enveloped him in the love and acceptance he ached to have. Eventually, as with all doctrines that limit behavior, The Jesus Club’s demands made no sense to him. “I was good at God,” he said. “I identified with being a wretch. I thought that if Jesus lived in my heart, I would never be sad or lonely again. I prayed hours every day to feel the presence of God.”

And then he put on a puppet show about God and Jesus at a church picnic. He was a huge hit. He was accepted. He was praised and wanted and his conclusion was that he had finally found the direct road straight to God. He was convinced that he had to find “the way” if he wanted to be truly human. “If you don’t have Jesus living inside you, you’re just a bunch of junk,” he was told and he bought it all because it made him part of something he could count on.

It didn’t take long to become disillusioned with dogma that made no sense. If God loves us all, why doesn’t he love gay people? It was this question that turned the tide for him. Suddenly, he realized he had surrounded himself with delusional people who were not HIS people at all. “I walked away from my church thirty years ago,” he said. “And now I believe in a world where everyone knows they are loved by someone and no one ever has to feel like a wretch.”

It is said that those who realize that all life is one are at home everywhere and see themselves in all beings. Would we all could be that comfortable with our innermost selves. What a comfortable world that would be for us all.

I loved this show. It was real. It was human. It was a joy to see. I believed every minute of David Templeton’s journey and when the show ended, I knew that his search for real meaning did not.

142 Throckmorton
Mill Valley, CA
Wednesdays, Jan 20, 27, Feb 3
Tickets $15 in advance, $18 at the door

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