Playing To A Packed House

It did my heart good to know that there are still plenty of people who are interested in a program about the Bible. Last week we traveled to the Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster to see the production of Noah.

I have been to the theater before and every show I have gone to see in it has been the same. The place was filled.

Noah was spectacular. If you have never been to see one of these productions you owe it to yourself to get there. The production actually takes place on three sides of you. For the first time ever I sat in a section on the ground floor. I was not sure I would like it because I knew you got a good view from higher up. Our seats were wonderful although I had to look back some to see all that was going on.

We sat right on an aisle. The people and the animals were close enough that we could have reached out and touched them even though we were warned not to.

The most poignant part for me came when the Lord shut the door to the ark. At that point you could hear the people left outside clamoring to get in. They had all been offered a chance for entry earlier, but had scoffed at the idea. When the serious rains began they did not think there was anything silly about Noah building an ark.

Let me back up here and describe what the second act was like as it opened. Act One closed with the filling of the ark nearly complete. As Act Two opened you could not help but feel that you were really in the ark. The animals and stalls were all around you. The air was filled with animal sounds.

I described for my children the filling of the ark with the animals. Some were released to enter on their own. Some were led in. My son asked if the pigs went where they were supposed to go. Of course, the answer to that would be no. Pigs seldom do what we expect them to do.

The production lasted a little more than two hours. Time went quickly because of all of the action. There was always something to see. Those in our group who had seen the production before said this version was even more elaborate.

When the production ended we headed to our buses. All buses are parked in the same area off to the side of the theater. We traveled through the parking lot in a hurry because the sky was extremely dark and there were high winds. Most of us managed to board our bus before any raindrops fell.

It was an eerie feeling on our exit considering we had just seen a show about 40 days and nights of rain and a long period of drying out. Just as the Lord was with Noah, he was with us as well. We made it to the restaurant before the sky opened up.

The theater is just one attraction that the Amish community has to offer. Since I was with a tour group we were not free to roam the countryside at will to experience the slower pace that the Amish/Mennonite culture offers. We saw what a tourist company planned for us, but it was not like the trip my husband and I took years ago to Lancaster.

When our children were old enough that we could trust them to do the farm chores my husband and I left for a week of travel in Lancaster. We did not plan ahead. We just experienced all we were able to.

Our first night we had to find lodging. We found a Mennonite family’s bed and breakfast facility. Luckily they had one room left. Before we headed out to explore my husband wanted to see the barn since the family was at work milking. A storm blew up that night, too, so my husband joined right in closing windows in the barn. Since the facility we stayed at the first night was filled for the rest of the week they helped us find accommodations. We stayed with a family that was having their place sold by auction so they were technically closed. The family treated us like family. The littlest one even followed me upstairs.

That year we experienced a farmers market. We bought sweet rolls and milk at the bakery that was just across from the market and took them outside to eat before we shopped. We also rode a train that goes out of Strasburg through Amish farmland. After that we went to a toy train museum. I love trains.

Traveling with a group is wonderful because everything is taken care of. Most of your expenses are paid as well. We all had a wonderful time exploring the shops at the Kitchen Kettle. Personally, I enjoyed the homemade ice cream I had for lunch.

On this trip with the seniors we also visited a canning facility, a pretzel factory, and a chocolate factory and museum. Many of our group came home with delicious samples from all of the facilities that we visited. Although a short trip this time, it was a very nice one.

There is something to be said though about just taking off on your own. It is a more leisurely trip with plenty of time to explore. Of course, it has its down side as well. There were a couple nights when we were on our own that we wondered if we were going to have to sleep in the car. If I went on my own again I would be sure I at least had accommodations for the duration of the stay.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at