IMPACTFUL: having a measurable effect upon something or someone

war horse

Rich Demarest, my old friend, suggested that we look at the word impactful.  Rich is the Dean of the Episcopal Cathedral in Boise, Idaho.    He and I have known each other for a hundred years or more (exaggeration) and I have followed his career in the Church, proud to have played a part in his early experience.   He and his wife, Diane, have three children, all of whom have become admirable young adults.  Thanks, Rich, for this interesting word.

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Impactful is a word with limited meaning.   It relates to the idea that something is capable of producing awe in a person.   To be impactful, something must be more than ordinary.   Most movies are good; some are awesome.  The same could be said for stage productions.

The other night we went to the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) to see the production of War Horse, the stage version of the story.   We had already seen the movie, and pretty much everyone we knew suggested that it was impossible  that it could be produced on stage.  The theater was packed, and I sensed that we were not the only ones who were prepared to make the statement: Prove it to me.

The play was outstanding. By the end of it we were sitting on the edges of our seats, having been impacted by the production; the quality of acting was immense; and the technology and creativity employed were mind-blowing.   Giant horses were manipulated by very, very skillful puppeteers who we discovered were from South Africa.   It took only a few minutes of the production for us to lose the attention given to the puppeteers and to see the horses as real equines.   They had personality.  They were powerful.  They were fast.  And they deserved the admiration they received.  They were impactful.  I can say that without hesitation, because they left an impact on me.

The use of music and visuals throughout the production was awesome.   They were well chosen  and added to the show without interfering with it.   There was a sequence in the middle of the production regarding a little girl that seemed like an intrusion and added to the length of the play, but despite it, the production remained  impactful .

I highly recommend the stage show, but we all agreed that it was helpful to have seen the movie in advance.   The movie set the story.   The stage production is an artistic interpretation of it and feels as if it requires some previous awareness of the gist of the story.

There is a choreography to the movement of the characters, and there is an occasional song as part of the stage production.  But it isn’t a true musical.   Words are, for the most part, spoken.   Dialogue is spoken.

The use of a cloud above the stage upon which visuals and words are flashed  is a masterful application of scene setting.   It is amazing how this enhances the story.  And there is no curtain.   The production begins and ends on a wide-open stage.

I could go on for hours about this production.  It was worth every penny we spent to see it  It was impactful.

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Photo  Credit: Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

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