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Experiences of the ’60s fuel their ‘semi-silent theatre’

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. (BP)–Two “children of the ’60s” who overcame the dark side of that era are enjoying an abundant life in the ’90s, sharing their Christian faith through the performing arts.

Tom and Seus Pierce describe their sketches as “semi-silent theatre” — a blend of mime and music, seasoned with physical humor and heart-tugging emotion.

Tom’s testimony in mime, titled “Daddy,” conveys the pain and uncertainty of growing up in an alcoholic home.

In spoken testimony, Seus acknowledges a past of drugs, promiscuity, abortion and the occult. Finally, in 1982, she knelt by her bed and gave her life to Christ. Today she claims the promise of Joel 2:25, “I will repay you for those years the locusts have eaten,” and she praises God for giving her and Tom two beautiful children, Zechariah, 10, and Timothy, 6.

Living in the Atlanta suburb of Bethlehem, added Seus, whose given name is Susan, “We live on Angel Street, believe it or not!”

Tom grew up in Michigan, Seus in New Jersey. They met in Tallahassee, Fla., where Seus had gone to study theatre with the man at Florida State University who also had become Tom’s mentor.

As a child, Tom loved watching comedian Red Skelton on television, particularly a weekly segment Skelton did called “The Silent Spot.” Tom became “a self-taught clown” and was on his way to the Ringling Brothers Circus clown school when he landed at Florida State.

Seus, meanwhile, had earned a degree in dance from Bennington College in Vermont, where she minored in music.

The Pierces provided theme interpretations for the Missouri Baptist Evangelism Conference earlier this year at First Baptist Church, Blue Springs. Seus’ soft, understated piano playing accompanies many of the mime sketches.

The Pierces say they have a twofold ministry: performing in and for churches and reclaiming the arts for Christ. The latter objective sometimes is carried out in secular venues, Seus said, but “the Spirit of God still is in the work.” At home in Georgia, Tom performs frequently in elementary schools and Seus does some substitute teaching.

Asked what they want their audience to take from a performance, Seus replied, “The beauty of mime is that people can take a lot of different things from it.” Watchers fill in the dialogue from their own experiences. Tom pointed out that “because we sort of bare our souls on stage they feel like they know you.”

Some of their work conveys a message that God can heal any situation. The Pierces have had people walk up afterward and tearfully thank them for ministering to their pain from alcoholism and other struggles in life.

Tom suspects he may have become a performer to get the recognition, love and applause that was missing in his home. “I don’t need it as much now as I used to,” he said. Nowadays it’s “for God’s glory, not my own.”

The Pierces develop their sketches by starting with a concept, such as “how TV affects your mind,” and trying different images — poses and gestures — until they have a collection that moves in a story line. They monitor the audience response and tinker with the presentation until they’re satisfied.

Looking back at their former selves — those children of the ’60s — the Pierces are burdened for young people today — a largely amoral generation that doesn’t distinguish right from wrong.

“How do you preach to that?” Seus wondered.

She recalled the ’60s as the time of a spiritual quest, when young people sought knowledge and truth but were sidetracked by the devil’s lies. The answer to the search was the Lord, and the reward was the true richness of life. “Now every day, walking with God is like that,” she said.

    About the Author

  • Tim Palmer