The latest play to be performed through Fire Pit Productions is expected to leave its audience questioning what they believe in and why, according to cast members and the director.
Sandy Alvstad, who plays the role of Edith in "The Man from Earth," said the play made her go home and have conversations with her husband.
"It challenges us to think," said Alvstad, who is new to the Fire Pit stage but not to acting. An English teacher for 35 years in the West Central Area School District, she has been in Prairie Wind Players productions and helped direct the Prairie Fire Children's Theatre.
"The Man from Earth" is interesting from so many different perspectives, Alvstad said. The play, written by Jerome Bixby, is about a man, John Oldman, who claims that he has been alive for 14,000 years.
"What if it was true? What if it was possible? What would I do?" Alvstad said were questions she and her husband discussed.
Alvstad described her character Edith, a college professor, as a "good friend of the people" and someone who is quite religious and who has a stricter interpretation of the Bible. She likes that Edith stands up for what she believes in, despite that it goes against the beliefs of the other characters. She said Edith is against the crowd which buys into Oldman's elaborate story.
The challenging part of her character, she said, is that Edith says things she would not.
"I find it frustrating sometimes that I can't say my own words," said Alvstad.
The concept of "The Man from Earth" was developed in the 1960s by Bixby, according to Quincy Roers, who is directing the play and also playing the part of Oldman. Bixby didn't finish writing it, however, until 1998 when he was on his deathbed, said Roers.
In 2007, it was made into a film and won numerous awards, and shortly after was adapted into a stage play, which garnered great reviews, Roers said.
He described his character as a college professor who unexpectedly resigns. The play, Roers said, could challenge people's belief in their faith.
This is the first time that a Fire Pit Production show will be performed outside, Roers said. He timed it so that the play would be performed during sundown. There will be some chairs available, but Roers encouraged people to bring their own lawn chairs or blanket to sit on.
"This will be a different experience this time," he said, adding that it should be a good experience for those who attend.
The show will be postponed if the weather does not cooperate, as it truly is meant to be performed outdoors. Weather-related announcements will be posted on Fire Pit Productions' Facebook book.
If you go
WHAT: "The Man From Earth"
WHERE: Outside on the lawn at Lakes Area Radio Theatre, 2214 Geneva Road NE
WHEN: Friday, Aug. 24, and Saturday, Aug. 25, at 6:30 p.m.
INFO: Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the theater the night of the performances. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/FirePitProductions/.
Quincy Roers - John Oldman
David Thorson - Dan
Scott Giannone - Harry
Sandy Alvstad - Edith
Kristi Greathouse - Sandy
Pete Woit - Art Jenkins
Katy Niemeyer - Linda Murphy
Alan Alvig - Will Gruber