BY GEORGE DACRE
When a relocated New York teacher tells her Kansas town school class that belief in God creating the world is Gobbledygook, she causes a firestorm of controversy with her students and parents. Susan, played by Andrea Maulella, a high school teacher from
New York City, says she only wants her students to think of all possibilities. But one of her students, Micah Staub, played by Drigan Lee, making his Penguin debut, challenges the teacher and parent Gene Dinkel (Andy Prosky) wants her to apologize to the class and the community.
This scenario leads to confrontation of beliefs between science and religion and leads to examination of contemporary America where irreconcilable beliefs exist. It makes for an intense play, directed by Penguin’s artistic director Joe Brancato, and features some intense acting by Lee, Prosky and Maulella.
Micah Staub is torn by his belief in God and the havoc caused by tornadoes and the tales of the Bible in which thousands die. Kinkel wants Susan to agree to a statement that faith is the cornerstone of the universe and science is what makes it happen. She agrees but is challenged by Micah.
How can Susan sign a statement that she does not believe in, he asks? And the controversy continues for two absorbing acts before a packed opening night house last Friday earning an ovation for the trio of actors at play’s end.
I found “How The World Began” to have been very well performed with great direction by Brancato and terrific sound effects and stage setting and direction. I recommend it and rate it Three Stars out of Four!!! Tickets and information at penguinrep.org or 845-786-2873. It runs weekends through July 21.