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Evansville, Indiana
October 19, 1990     The Message
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October 19, 1990
 

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October 19, 1990 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana iii li ilili Entertainment F+iiiiiii !iii!ii!i iiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiii B m oi :ii:i Catholics will feel at home with "The Love Sought' Angela Lansbury stars as a Catholic school teacher whose expectations are disappointed in "The Love She Sought," air- ing Sunday, Oct. 21, 8-10 p.m. EDT on NBC. After 43 yems of teaching small fry at St. Isidore's in a small Minnesota city, Agatha McGee (Miss Lansbury) decides to retire. Aggie is one of those Catholics who has never become comfortable with the changes in the church follow- ing the Second Vatican Coun- cil. She detests the spirit of modernization, something she describes as "dumping one of the old devotions in favor of polka Masses and guitars on the altar." The new bishop (Robert Pro- sky} and his friendly informali- ty prove a great trial for Aggie. When he asks her to call him "Dick" rather than "Bishop," she replies, "I wasn't brought up to call bishops by their nicknames." Aggie's one consolation in re- cent years has been her cor- respondence with a man in Ireland. It began after she read his letter condemning recent changes in the church pub- lished in a conservative Catholic magazine. At a party celebrating her retirement, Aggie is given a ticket to join the tour group the bishop is leading to Ireland. Though put off by the prelate's arriving at the party playing a trombone at the head of the school band, she accepts the ticket as a way to meet her pen pal, James (Denholm Elliott} for the first time. They meet in Dublin and have a delightful time (as will the viewer) touring the city and its environs. Aggie is now cer- tain that James is not only her soul-mate but that he will ask her to marry him. Instead he leaves, saying that he can never see her again. Tak- ing a bus to the small town where he has told her he is a teacher, she is shocked to discover that he is the parish priest. When the bishop learns what has happened, he storms off to confront the priest muttering that "St. Patrick didn't chase all the snakes out of Ireland." The confrontation is played out in a soul-searching se- quence starting with the bishop chastising the priest for his duplicity in concealing his identity. James explains that his motives had nothing to do with "desires of the flesh" but the need "to share one's soul with another." But no matter how innocent his intentions, James is not let off the hook for the pain that he has caused Aggie. She, of course, is the focus of the story, and how she deals with her feelings is perhaps a little too pat but it is certainly at the heart of her Christian character. Adapted by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman from the novel, "A Green Journey" by Jon Hassler, the Catholic aspects of the story engage one's sym- pathies on a deeper level than usually found in similar roman- tic dramas. One of the nice touches is a subplot involving a young un- wed mother, Janet (Cynthia Nixon), who relies on Aggie's advice about the nice but ir- responsible fellow who wants to marry her. The young girl and her prob- lems not only provide an in- teresting contrast to those of the older woman but Janet serves also as the means by which Ag- gie learns about forgiveness. Miss Lansbury gives a solid performance as the dedicated parochial school teacher who, after sacrificing her years in the service of Christian education, feels betrayed not only by the church but by God. The performance invests the role of an aging spinster and her WNIN-FM 88 features Evansville author Wangerin Evansville author Walt Wangerin, Jr. is bringing his magical stories to life on WNIN FM 88 every weeknight at 6 p.m. since Oct. 8th. Wangerin will read from some of his almost two dozen books, in- cluding "Thistle," "Elizabeth and the Water Troll," "Sax- ifrage, the Break-Rock," and "The Book of the Dun Cow." Three of his books have won Gold Medallion Book Awards, and the New York Times recognized "The Book of the Dun Cow" as "Best Children's Book of the Year." Wangerin and FM 88 hope to revive the tradition of dramatic story-telling for the entire fami- ly. Area schools have been in- vited to join in the "theatre of the imagination" and use "The Daily Reader" and Wangerin's books and stories in their reading and English classes. Besides his career as a prize- winning novelist, Wangerin has worked as a teacher, a newspaper columnist, a radio announcer, a poet, a migrant farm worker and an inner-city church pastor. The Daily Reader can be heard every Mon- day through Friday from 6 - 6:30 p.m. on WNIN FM 88, the Tri-state's listener-supported radio station at 88.3 FM. rigidly conservative views on life and religion with con- siderable credibility and no lit- tle sympathy. Elliott, an actor who has worn well over the years, is en- tirely comfortable as the priest who is tortured by the harmful consequences of his unintend- ed deception. Prosky, also an actor of con- siderable talent, pulls off the role of the down-to-earth bishop with charm and winning sincerity. Whether you ever have met such a bishop is beside the point. Veteran director Joseph Sargent gets a little teary at times, but the humor in the script keeps matters from ever getting too heavy-handed. Though non-Catholics may perceive it as little more than a sentimental melodrama with a ethnic flavoring of malarkey, most Catholics are likely to fee! quite at home with its treatmert of authority, conscience, changes within the church, si and forgiveness. It "plays on a fairly mture. level, but the material should be accessible to most adolescents. Those who choOS to watch it instead of "Murder, She Wrote" are likely to be talk" ing about it for the rest of the week. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ::!i i#:::'iz''':''''':'':S' .... 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