Picks and Pans Review: American Playhouse: the Silence at Bethany

updated 03/27/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/27/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

PBS (Wed., March 22, 9 P.M. ET)


The problem with this story is that there's hardly any story to it. Bethany is not a tale, only an incident. Mark Moses plays a young man who moves out of his Mennonite hometown but returns to seek the plain and religious life he had left behind. "All I know," he says, "is that I feel more at home here than I do in the world." He learns the doctrine of the church, joins, marries and is chosen by lot to become the preacher. But Moses finds himself on the wrong end of a war with his bishop over church rules on farming. As political fights go—in a church, a town, a club or a company—this is simple and shallow. As drama goes, it is weak.

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