August 6, 2011 by Paula Reed Nancarrow
“As true as memory will allow”…a proviso on Robert Hubbard’s program I can definitely relate to. This was a powerful performance. I came expecting to postcard, because the theme is similar to my own show – but I was too blown away to put my marketing hat on.
Robert Hubbard’s portrait of his alcoholic father reminded me in many ways of Scott Russell Sanders’ “Under the Influence,” an essay that is required reading in many memoir classes. “The Walking Man is a beautifully balanced segment in and of itself, one which sets the context for phrases like “sweet redemption.”
Though it isn’t central to the piece, having been an adjunct at Wheaton for a semester, I enjoyed the way Hubbard portrayed, with warmth, affection, insight, and humor, the different academic personalities of the evangelical Christian colleges – Calvin, Trinity, Wheaton, Valpariso. I also enjoyed how deftly he mapped theological concepts onto something as apparently secular as football. None of this is done in a heavy-handed, “witnessing” way; the quiet sincerity of the performance speaks for itself. You do not need to like football, or know anything about John Elway (I didn’t); you do not need to be Christian (I’m not); you do not even need to be the adult child of an alcoholic (ditto, though the therapists keep asking if I’m sure). You will still understand the power of giving and receiving forgiveness.
Plus it’s damned good theater. Well, maybe not damned good – except for the bit about Al Davis being the Prince of Darkness. But good.