by Taylor Harris
Here is another Rogue 2015 performer article. We will be posting several more over the next several days until Rogue opens. After it opens, you will also find many Rogue show reviews. To learn more about this year’s event check out our Rogue 2015 preview article, and check out our Rogue Performer event page to learn about more of the performers this year. You can find all of the Rogue articles as they go up in our Arts & Entertainment section.
I was a scrawny, twelve-year-old kid when I first met Frank Moffett Mosier in his acting course at the studio, Northwest Dance. I quickly learned this was not your typical children’s acting class. There would be no light-hearted productions of the Music Man or any Whose Line is It–inspired improvisational exercises in silliness. Frank handed us scripts he had written himself that challenged us to the core, emotionally and mentally. We would tackle themes that could make adults feel uneasy.
Frank was born on May 15, 1929, in Iowa. He earned his MFA in playwriting from the Iowa State University after serving in the Korean War. After living in New York, he and his wife, Diane Mosier, moved to Fresno where they founded the Lively Arts Foundation and Central California Ballet. Frank considered himself a philosopher, and the content of his plays reflected that. They made you think.
When I was 15, Frank handed me a copy of Genesisters, which would become my favorite one-act play. It was originally performed as a sermon in 1973 at St. Luke’s Chapel in New York City. In Genesisters, Frank explored a Jewish myth from the 8th to 10th century of Lilith, a woman who was created before Eve. According to the legend, after being exiled from paradise in her own fall from grace, Lilith, Adam’s first wife, was transformed into a demon devoted to harming infants. (In medieval Europe, it was not uncommon to find amulets protecting pregnant mothers and their newborn babes against her evil.) In Frank’s play, Eve and Lilith encounter each other for the first time, and they (along with the audience) are forced to grapple with what it means to be human in God’s world and a woman in a man’s.
Before Frank passed away last June, I promised him that Genesisters would be performed in Fresno’s Rogue Festival. Fourteen years later after our last production of the show at the Fresno Art Museum, I am returning to my prehistoric cave as Eve, and Erin Stueve is making her acting debut as Lilith. Greg Taber of Theatre Ventoux and the Woodward Shakespeare Festival completes the cast as Adam.
Preparing for the production has been challenging, fun, frustrating, and emotional – occasionally, all at the same time. Although I know that Frank (if he were here physically), would deny its possible existence in the literal sense, his spirit is felt every time I thumb through the script or reposition an element of the set or hear a line delivered just right, intentionally or serendipitously. Even in the writing of this article, I hear his raspy voice. I look forward to the Rogue Festival audience having the chance to hear it as well.
Genesisters plays February 28 at 1:45 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., March 1 at 4:30 p.m., and March 7 at 5:30 p.m. at the Tower District’s Spectrum Art Gallery (608 E. Olive). Tickets are $5 at the door or online at roguefestival.ticketleap.com/genesisters.
I’m sorry about Frank, I know how much he meant to you. I know he is very proud of you 🙂