- Acacia Theatre, which uses Concordia University’s stage
for its productions, chooses its plays based on their moral
value. It describes itself as a Christian theater, but its
choices are not as narrow as that may sound.
recently presented “Quilters,” “Little Women” and
“The Miracle Worker,” for example, none of which are
offering this season, “Malcolm and Teresa,” by Cathal
Gallagher, explores the relationship between the British
journalist Malcolm Muggeridge and the social reformist Mother
Teresa. Both were concerned about societal ills, such as
poverty, injustice, and abuse of power, though they approached
their concerns from different perspectives.
is more about the evolution of Muggeridge and his moral
journey than about the personality of Mother Teresa, though
his interview with her in 1968 and the world’s response to
that interchange gave him pause. It challenged his thinking;
it gave her publicity and fame.
itself is somewhat choppy and the production not as smooth as
it might have been if they had used spot lighting to change
venues. However the assortment of philosophies represented
here proved provocative.
spent a year in Russia (1932-33), where he uncovered and
criticized Stalin’s regime as a dictatorship disguised as
socialism. He also revealed the real cause of The Great Famine
and other atrocities going on there. He was ostracized for his
unpopular views, but it provoked his journey toward
questioning the role of government and religion as the remedy
for making the world a more amenable place for the health and
happiness of all.
the 1960s, he had a TV talk show on the BBC, and when his
scheduled guest, Billy Graham, was unable to appear as
scheduled, Mother Teresa was substituted. In 1968, Muggeridge
had never heard of this little nun who spent her time in the
slums of India attending to the needs of the homeless and
dying. This meeting changed the lives of both; his probably
more than hers.
these two characters, very ably portrayed by Jason Will and
Glenna Gustin, the story also included a socialistic aunt; an
Anglican priest; Muggeridge’s wife, Kitty; and an associate
producer at the BBC. Aunt Bo, played by Stacy Becker, was hard
to hear at times; Kitty was well rendered by Nicole Gorski-Ray;
Ian H. DeJong created an interesting producer; and Michael
Chobanoff, an affable priest.
struck me most about the story was how polarized people become
in their views and often, how arrogant. Mother Teresa
certainly was a very good woman and was motivated to serve the
needs of others because that was her conception of the message
of the Gospel. But working for justice and treating others
with respect and kindness can be motivated by many different
perspectives and sets of beliefs.
only to study history and even the present world situation to
see that religion often divides people and creates conflicts
rather than inspires compassion and harmony.
and Teresa” gets one thinking and could lead to a fruitful
discussion if only people were humbler and better listeners.
and Teresa” runs through Sunday at the Concordia Wisconsin
University, 12800 Lake Shore Drive, Mequon. For tickets, call
744-5995, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit