by Daniel Hathaway
Baldwin Wallace Opera Theater became only the fourth company — and the first collegiate one — to stage Kamala Sankaram and Jerre Dye’s provocative Taking Up Serpents when the show opened at the Kleist Center for Theater and Drama in Berea on February 2.
Masterfully directed by Scott Skiba with a talented student cast and a 13-piece professional chamber ensemble tightly conducted by Dean Buck, the one-act, 80-minute piece commissioned by Washington National Opera centers around 25-year-old Kayla, the daughter of a Holiness preacher in the Deep South.
A “lost soul and a wanderer,” Kayla’s on a quest to establish her own relationship with God outside the smothering confines of a patriarchal church that handles snakes, speaks in tongues, and indulges in other questionable practices invented by Christian charismatics. [Read more…]