Everyone loves a good morality play. Well, maybe not, but you are going to love this one. There is pomp and pageantry – heavy on the pomp. There are elaborate costumes; capes and sashes and flowing robes, ceremonial swords and funny hats with plumes. There are unique stage props, like a silver chalice of wine said to have been turned to blood, and a solid golden monstrance, home away from home whenever the holy host travels. The monstrance is protected at all times by an ornate canopy, carried along the parade route on four spear-tipped golden poles. There is incense in a high volume dispenser, artfully handled by a backward walking dedicated incense waver, making the production a treat for the olfactory as well as the visual. And, thanks to the irreverent sense of humor of Lon Newman, Executive Director of Wausau’s Family Planning Health Services, (FPHS), there were big, red, frisky, gay balloons.
ACT ONE: The curtain rises on a group of kneeling supplicants lining both sides of the walkway to the Wausau, Wisconsin Family Planning Clinic. The mostly elderly men and women, and a few of what I assume to be their conscripted grandchildren, mumble prayers as a nervous teenage girl heads toward the building. It’s 4:00 in the afternoon, and rush hour traffic has slowed so the looky loos can snap a picture of the disturbance with their cell phone cameras. The anxious girl hides her face, painfully aware someone passing by may recognize her, but she bravely trudges past the protesters. Some merely stare at her accusingly. Others hiss words meant to shame her. She wants to run away, but she has no money, and there is nowhere else she can go for help. Hers is a torment that cannot be prayed away. Her eyes fill with tears, but she refuses to let them fall. She keeps her gaze on the entrance; five more steps, three, two. One more step and a push of the door and this nightmare will be over. Inside she will find medical help. She will find compassion without judgment. After weeks of suffering, of tossing and turning and worrying about what she was going to do, the teen is about to find someone who will help her end her unwanted……… yeast infection.