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THOM FIET, HYDE PARK DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH MINISTER, IS THE 2006 ANNA JONES FELLOW AT BARD Residency includes two free performances of JB, Archibald MacLeish’s Pulitzer Prize–Winning Play at Bard’s Chapel of the Holy Innocents on May 5 and 7
Emily M. Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Reverend Thom Fiet of the Dutch Reformed Church of Hyde Park is the 2006 Anna Jones Fellow at Bard College. He will be leading discussions in conjunction with free performances of Archibald MacLeish’s Pulitzer Prize–winning play, JB, on Friday, May 5, at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, May 7, at 3:30 p.m. in the Chapel of the Holy Innocents at Bard College. This program is supported by the Anna Jones Fellowship, Institute of Advanced Theology, Chaplaincy, and Theology Program at Bard.
Fiet is a member of The Justice for All Speakers Forum (allforjustice.org), an ecumenical and interfaith education and advocacy program of the religious community of Dutchess County. During the past year, the Speakers Forum, which convenes on the third Sunday of every month at 4:00 p.m. at various locations, hosted speakers from a variety of disciplines, backgrounds, and organizations who address some aspect of justice. Past speakers include Larry Cox, senior program officer of the Ford Foundation’s Human Rights Unit Peace and Social Justice Program; The Reverend Catherine Roskam, Suffragen Bishop of New York; Marie Dennis, director of Maryknoll Global Concern; and Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of School of Americas Watch.
The production of JB is directed by Gerrit Graham the full cast includes both seasoned professionals and the best of local community players. It stars Bruce Chilton (Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Bard), Alexandra Angeloch, Phillip Levine, and Graham. In its 1958 Broadway debut, JB was hailed as “One of the most memorable works of the century.” (New York Times); “The best play of this or many seasons!” (New York Journal American); “Sheer theatre . . . enormously impressive!” (New York Herald Tribune); and “A sort of theatrical thunderbolt!” (Newsweek).
JB is a modern comment on the biblical Book of Job. The drama unfolds in a kind of symbolic circus where all the timeless dramas of the world might take place. Its themes encompass suffering, despair, faith, hope, and love. Job is called J.B., after the fashion of calling modern businessmen by their initials. Blessed with a loving family and material riches, he basks gratefully in God’s grace, until he is horribly smitten by
calamity. His children are killed. He is excruciatingly afflicted. His wife, in despair, leaves him. Still believing in God’s justice, Job struggles to understand what sins he must have committed to incur the divine wrath. In verse that is both savagely rugged and soaringly lyrical, MacLeish brings Job to the realization that God’s ways are not to be justified by man, but that in man himself—with his unconquerable will to go on loving and living—God is made manifest. The play is a call to personal integrity and social responsibility, and a gripping and entertaining evening of theater.
The program is free and open to the public. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The Chapel of the Holy Innocents is located on Annandale Road on the Bard College Campus. For further information, call 845-758-7279, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.bard.edu/iat.
ANNA JONES FELLOW
The Reverend Thom Fiet is pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church in Hyde Park and the Pleasant Plains Presbyterian Church. He teaches philosophy and sociology of religion at Marist College and SUNY New Paltz. Fiet has published numerous theological articles and essays; his area of specialization is narrative theology. He studied at Western Theological Seminary, in Holland, Michigan, and the Vrije Universeteit, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
ABOUT THE CAST
Bruce Chilton (Nickles/Satan) is a scholar of early Christianity and Judaism. He wrote the first critical commentary on the Aramaic version of Isaiah (The Isaiah Targum), as well as academic studies that analyze Jesus in his Judaic context (A Galilean Rabbi and His Bible; The Temple of Jesus; Pure Kingdom). He has taught in Europe at the Universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Münster, and in the United States at Yale University (as the first Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament) and at Bard College. Chilton is the executive director of the Institute of Advanced Theology and Chaplain of the College at Bard. Throughout his career, he as been active in the pastoral ministry of the Anglican Church, and is Rector of the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Barrytown, New York. His most recent books are Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biograph; Redeeming Time: The Wisdom of Ancient Jewish and Christian Festal Calendars; Rabbi Paul: An Intellectual Biography; and Mary Magdalene: A Biography. While a theater student at Bard, Chilton performed the inevitable Shakespeare, being cast as Antony and as Jack Cade, among other roles. Among modern plays, he also enjoyed playing leads in the work of Edward Albee, Clifford Odets, and Sean O’Casey. While a student, be appeared professionally at the Cubiculo Theater in Manhattan in a dance choreographed by Aileen Passloff, and at the Hampstead Theatre Club in London in a play written by Robert Rockman. More recently he has sporadically been recruited for a couple of roles, most notably Gabriel in Brave Christmas by Harry Kelly, Thomas Beckett in Murder in the Cathedral by T. S. Eliot, and Creon in Sophocles’ Antigone.
Gerrit Graham’s (Mr. Zuss/God) life as a professional actor began in 1968: while he was a college sophomore at New York’s Columbia University, he was picked by Columbia alumnus Brian De Palma to star opposite Robert De Niro in Greetings. He has since been seen in some 40-odd movies, including One True Thing with Meryl Streep and Renee Zellweger, This Boy’s Life with Leonardo DiCaprio and De Niro, Pretty Baby with Brooke Shields, and cult favorites Used Cars and Phantom of the Paradise. His television appearances run the gamut from Starsky and Hutch and Laverne & Shirley through Law and Order and Third Watch; dedicated TV-watchers may remember him as series regular Roger Bender on CBS’s highly regarded if short-lived Now & Again. New York-area stage appearances include as Sir Wilful Witwoud in Congreve’s The Way of The World at Yale Repertory, and as the villainous Julian in the Off-Broadway production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Communicating Doors with Mary Louise Parker. As a director, Graham might charitably be described as an adept amateur, having directed many times but never professionally. Local efforts during the past 10 years include A.R. Gurney’s The Dining Room, in the dining room at Staatsburg; performing with the improvisational troupe The Resident Company at the Bearsville Theater; and appearing in Story Theatre shows at the Bearsville Theater and Cuneen Hackett in Poughkeepsie. After living and working for more than two decades in Hollywood, Graham returned to his family’s Dutchess County home in 1996. This is his first appearance locally, and he is very happy that it was designed to benefit the Justice For All Speakers Forum, whose planning team he joined in 2005.
Alexandra Angeloch (Sarah) is a graduate of Bard College and the New American Theatre School under the direction of Milan Stitt. She has worked as an actress in regional and Off–Off Broadway productions, films, and local television. Favorite roles include Antigone (Sophocles’ Antigone), Carnation (Miss Firecracker Contest), Viola (Twelfth Night), Girl (Cave Dwellers), and Lavinia (Androcles and the Lion). She is also a playwright; her Boy Toys and Raylene’s Fig have been produced regionally, and Siren’s Whisper had readings at the Abingdon Theatre on Theatre Row and at Women’s Project and Productions, both in New York City. She is a published short story writer as well. Her other passions include speech therapy, in which she is currently pursuing a graduate degree; gardening; and her family.
Phillip Levine (J.B.) has been a busboy, mathematics Ph.D. student, bike messenger, college ice hockey goalie, actuary, techie geek, Wall Street V.P., waiter, Pop Warner Football Championship MVP, computer consultant, softball pitcher, record producer, stage manager, chess master, rugby fly half, and band roadie. These days he is an actor, director, peace advocate, yurt builder and dweller, published poet, and poetry editor of Chronogram magazine, president of the Woodstock Poetry Society, Woodstock Poetry Festival program codirector, host (for more than 4 years) of the “Open-Mic Spoken Every Monday Forever” at the Colony Cafe in Woodstock, and most recently, a father. After his performance in JB, Levine performs the role of Giggles, a murderous clown, in the upcoming feature horror film Fear of Clowns 2.
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This event was last updated on 05-09-2006