Bethlehem Press

Sunday, October 22, 2017
PHOTO BY DAN MAHER“The Complete and Authoritative Tour of Holy Stuff,” through March 12, Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem. PHOTO BY DAN MAHER“The Complete and Authoritative Tour of Holy Stuff,” through March 12, Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem.

Theater Review: The ‘Stuff’ that journeys are made of

Friday, March 10, 2017 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

“The Complete and Authoritative Tour of Holy Stuff” is a multi-media presentation, continuing through at 8 p.m. March 10 and 11 and 2 p.m. March 12, Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem, about what makes us tick and rings our bells.

It’s around the world in 80 mimes as Emma Ackerman, who created and performs the one-woman show, continuing at 8 p.m. March 10 and 11 and 2 p.m. March 12, wordlessly leads the audience through a series of vignettes about the search for the meaning of life.

The 65-minute performance, with no intermission, takes the form of an audio tour. The selfies fad, the taking of one’s photograph with a cell phone camera, is a major theme. Call it “Around the World in 80 Selfies.” Think a Disney World of the Mind.

An uncredited narrator chattily leads us through the locations in 16 scenes. “You are here. You are not here,” the voice intones with just a touch of malice as world landmarks whiz by.

“Holy Stuff” begins with “The All-Natural Holiness Emporium,” includes “At the Shrine of Television,” “Game Show: Are You a True Believer?” and “Sacrament of the Ball of Foot,” and concludes with “The Gift Shoppe by the Exit.”

Ackerman, a Touchstone Ensemble member, navigates a maze diagram emblazoned on the stage floor as videos, photographs and images in the Video Design by Dan Maher, coinciding with each scene are shown on a large screen above the stage. Jp Jordan, Touchstone Artistic Director, directed the ambitious show and designed the set.

Music plays a major role in “Holy Stuff,” with Gregorian chants and other recorded music enhancing the sense of adventure.

Ackerman, whose denim jacket and leggings outfit is that of a young tourist, is effervescent with a bright-eyed countenance and constant smile.

The journey of her unnamed character of “Holy Stuff’ becomes the audience’s journey with many thoughtful signposts, and selfies, along the way.

Tickets: touchstone.org, 610-867-1689