It probably won’t give Cats much competition. But a Lamb’s Players stage adaptation of Walter Wangerin’s award-winning Book of the Dun Cow was received warmly by Southern California drama critics. Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Nancy Chumin said, “The Lamb’s repertory company has done nothing less than reclaim the world of the imagination for the theater.” San Diego Union critic Welton Jones called it “delightfully staged” and “winningly performed.”

Rather than portraying Wangerin’s rooster hero as the San Diego Chicken (the Padres’ baseball mascot), Lamb’s Players opted for glitzy costuming, using brightly colored fabric arranged like feathers around actor David Cochran Heath’s neck and ankles. It was then up to Heath and his chickenlike twitch of the neck to further create the role of the rooster who must save the world.

Each season Lamb’s Players, a repertory group with Christian commitment, programs a mix of plays with outright religious content and those that, though not explicitly Christian, articulate moral and ethical concerns. The Book of the Dun Cow ran from June 24 through July 24 in suburban San Diego.

The World From A Wheelchair

Two remarkable displays of art accompanied the Congress on the Church and the Disabled last July 7–9 at the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton, Illinois.

The first was a nearly complete assembly of devotional artist Joni Eareckson Tada’s works. The full-sized works displayed a remarkable technique not visible in the smaller greeting card and plaque formats generally accessible to the Christian bookstore goer. Included were preliminary studies and drawings for many of the paralyzed artist’s paintings, evidence of the careful preparation and research that go into her work.

For example, in creating The Nativity, commissioned by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for a 1979 Christmas telecast, Tada pored over photographs of women who had just given birth, heads of infants, even x-rays of a baby’s skull. Her careful preparation and technique make the paintings worth seeing.

The retrospective included a preparalysis painting (Steeplechase, 1959) in which the ten-year-old artist shows strong composition and an eye for detail. And unlike the representations of biblical scenes, landscapes, and still lifes that are available in Christian bookstores, a single abstract (The Brush, 1979), displays the power of pure kinesthetic expression in one vigorous stroke of blue paint.

Also on view were nine works by the winners of a national juried contest for disabled artists. The show was on display through September 1.

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