THE STORY: Set on the front porch and in the living room of a conservative Texas home, THE STONEWATER RAPTURE tells the story of two teenagers whose sexual awakening has been severely hampered by the fundamentalist fervor that runs like power lines through the Bible Belt. Just after being elected president of the youth ministry at his church’s picnic, Whitney attempts to seduce the puritanical Carlyle. She coyly refuses Whitney’s advances, citing everything from teen pregnancy to hellfire and damnation as reasons to abstain. Later, Carlyle seeks Whitney’s help after she has been the victim of a sexual assault. Rather than face the grim reality of her experience, Carlyle transforms the attack from an act of violence to a vision of glory, in which the bodies of her assailants become the angels torn from the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and the alcohol they forced upon her becomes the blood of Christ. As Carlyle’s delusions grow, Whitney must convince her of the unfortunate truth. Together they struggle to wed their simplistic religious doctrine with the often painful complexity of the real world.
With its single set and youthful roles this play has been a favorite among high school, college and amateur groups. Concerned with the explosive combination of adolescent sexuality and religious repression in a rural Texas town, the play traces the relationship between Whitney, the well-meaning son of the local minister, and Carlyle, a vivacious eighteen-year-old girl with a highly charged imagination. The play captured the Fringe First at the 1984 Edinburgh Festival. It was subsequently published in The Best Short Plays of 1987, and produced regionally and in New York. “A poignant and funny look at growing up, sex and religion in small-town America.” —London Stage. “An original and relevant drama.” —The Festival Times (Edinburgh). “Forceful, and redolent of deep feeling.” —The Scotsman (Edinburgh).