BETHLEHEM, PA – Touchstone Theatre presents a new one-woman show by Ensemble Member Emma Ackerman, entitled The Complete and Authoritative Tour of Holy Stuff.
The show is an abstract exploration of the varied things we consider holy in our lives and runs March 2-12, 2017 in Touchstone’s home theatre on the South Side of Bethlehem.
Part performance art, part post-modern ritual, part magical mystery tour, Holy Stuff originated in 2015 as a ten-minute workshop performance for Ackerman’s Masters dissertation project.
Since then, it has expanded into a whimsical and labyrinthine pilgrimage of a show about the things we hold sacred, the lengths to which we go for them, and the souvenirs we pick up along the way.
“We all have these things in our lives that we call holy, something that gives us a deeper connection with the world around us,” says Ackerman. “For some people, that’s about faith, spirituality… but for others, going to a concert by their favorite band can be holy. Taking a walk in the woods can be holy. Going to a Star Trek convention can be holy. What do the things that we devote ourselves to say about who we are? Is there any common ground between the liturgy of a church service and the patter of a sports announcer?”
Accompanied by an eclectic soundscape and evocative digital images, the show’s non-linear, philosophical journey starts in a darkened hall, where Ackerman’s character, a pilgrim on a quest for holiness, follows an audio tour.
Along her trip, she boards a plane to San Diego Comic-Con; stops for a layover in Sedona, Arizona; makes detours to the Taj Mahal, a football field, and the Beatles’ hometown of Liverpool; and takes lots of selfies on her road to discovering some kind of connection with the divine.
“To me, experiencing the idea of devotion can be both immensely fulfilling and completely draining,” Ackerman adds. “I’m hoping that this piece touches on both.”
On display in the Touchstone Gallery is an accompanying multi-artist exhibit called “Power Objects” that explores blurring the line between the sacred and the decorative.
Catt Miller works with various fibers, rope, cording, and lace to create dreamcatchers and wall hangings, weaving her spiritual practice into her loose, just-barely resolved creations.
Stephanie Smith’s exploration of mandala art is deep and committed, and she continues to find and display joy and discovery in her intricate handwork.
Dolores Kirschner’s work hovers at the boundary between art, science, the great mystery of existence, and laughter.
Allison Bessesdotter allows herself to be guided by the gentle tug of color, texture, and story in her textiles.
The Complete and Authoritative Tour of Holy Stuff plays March 2-12, 2017, Thursday through Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are $25 for adults / $15 for students and seniors, with group rates available on request. On Thursday, Touchstone offers a pay-what-you-will ticket option at the door, allowing walkup patrons to name their own ticket price. Advance tickets may be purchased at 610.867.1689 or online at www.touchstone.org The Touchstone Café is open one hour before show time and will remain open after the show, with pastries and gourmet coffee by Nazca K-Fé Premium Peruvian Coffee available for purchase.
Celebrating thirty-six years, Touchstone Theatre produces and presents both original and classic productions, with a dedication to the renewal of theatre as a vital art form. Touchstone works to foster collaboration on a local and national level through educational and youth empowerment programs, using theatre as a community-building tool. Visit us on the web at www.touchstone.org