Redeemed by sin

By Winter Dorval - Staff Reporter

By Winter Dorval

Staff Reporter

A tale of lost love is told through song at the Centerstage Theatre.

Written by Alan Bryce, Cardinal Sins has roots that can be traced back more than 800 years.

"Two years ago I went to visit my sister in England and I said to my sister and my wife, I want to visit Friday Street," in London, Bryce said. 

"There's this beautiful little pub called Stephen Langton, and I remembered that name from high school. I couldn't remember why. I saw a pamphlet on the counter, and it told the story of Stephen Langton's life, who lived in the Middle Ages," Bryce said.

The 12th century churchman's life was filled with elusive love, shocking tragedy, and surprising turns.

The pamphlet told of how in a fit of rage Langton set fire to the house of his love.

 After it had burned to the ground, he went to the church since he felt guilty for killing her.

Decades later he found out that she had lived and had been hidden from him by her family.

Reunited, they died in each others arms.

Following his discovery of this gripping story, Bryce learned that none of it was true.

However, the idea appealed to Bryce, so he wrote a musical about it.

He wanted to share the historical truth about Langton, and reinforce that if you stick to your principles, you will triumph.

"Stephen Langton was the Archbishop of Canterbury, who led the barons in their quest to form a peace treaty with King John," Bryce said. 

"Although no-one really knows who wrote the actual words of the Magna Carta, there is very little doubt that the higher ideals enshrined in it came from Langton: freedom of worship, due process of law, the right to inherit property and above all the notion that, in law, he who governs is answerable to the governed," he said.

An important detail about this play is that it strives to emphasize the concept that "this is where the principles of Western democracy were born," Bryce said.

"When the Magna Carta was stipulated in Runnymede, a meadow next to the Thames, it was here that Western democracy was founded," Bryce said. 

"There is a memorial that was funded and built by the American Bar Association, because they recognized the significance of it."

The musical was written as a love story, with the relationship shrouded in secrecy.

This was a deliberate arrangement, so that it is "believable to people that know the history," Bryce said.

"The pamphlet never alluded to Langton having a public relationship."

He said he sees this as a "very passionate story best told through music."

Bryce wrote the script, with lyrics by Chana Wise and music by Milton Reame-James, John Forster, Carl Johnson and Ron Barnett.

A number of songs set to accompany the production are 800 years old, including original lyrics by Langton himself.

This sets the tone and helps transport the audience in time, Bryce said.

One hour before each performance, the author will talk about the musical and gives listeners a deeper understanding of the characters and history.

The show is directed by John Henry Davis with musical direction by Greg Smith. 

Cardinal Sins shows Thursdays through Sundays, May 13 through June 4. The shows take place at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays.

Tickets are $35 for adults, $30 for seniors 65 and older, $30 for military, $15 for youths 25 and younger, and $50 for VIP.

This performance will be at Centerstage Theatre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road in Federal Way.

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