Saturday, March 22, 2008

passion play

A few evenings ago, I went with a group from one of the Oneida churches to see a Passion Play at a church in London.

I'm not sure how to evaluate such a thing.

For example, let's take the music. Actually, it was nice. There were a snafu or two, I remember, but by and large well done. It was small orchesta music, which meant of course that they had a small orchestra. I'm not going to say I was wild about that kind of music, but for what it was, it was well done.

The acting? One should try to be fair, these weren't professional actors, very likely more like regular working folks who given time from their already filled lives to play their parts in the play. It did leave something to be desires as far as quality goes, but it wasn't awful, either.

The play itself? It's not like the story wouldn't have been known to most of us, though some elements and how they do them can be points of interest. In this one, for example, there was the artistic license of inserting Nicodemus as trying to warn Jesus the night before, and doing that enabled them to insert the John 3 exchange.

Plenty of people in faux Mideastern garb, live donkey and lambs, cute little kids running around.

Am I being sarcy?

Not really, I think.

There is a tendency at times to do the event of the crucifixion in a manner that can be tasteless. I remember, for example, a preacher for whom I do have some respect doing a routine to the Carmen speech-song "This Bloods for You".

I guess I approach the crucifixion with something like trepidation. I haven't watched Gidson's movie "The Passion of the Christ", though I have a lot of respect for it. It simply hasn't been something I've wanted to see. And I'm pretty sure that it's about as realistic as one would want it to be, all told.

It's struck me that the Bible does not go into details in regard to the crucifixion. It tells us what happened, but doesn't dwell on it. Maybe because for the people of that time, they had witnessed such events before--beatings, executions, crucifixions, scourgings. It wasn't something they needed to detail in order to convey what was happening.

Which does kind of raise the question of whether or not we should have some knowledge of what the event may been like. In that sense, Gibson's movie has done a service.

But I can't help but be glad the play I saw didn't go there. Yes, it had scenes depicting the beating and the crucifixion, and it should have, but while I do think they tried to get the last drops of drama out of it, it could have been worse.

Nevertheless, I'm glad I went, for all my apparent grousing about the play itself here. It's needful, sometimes, to remember what happened, what it was like, what it meant. Even with its faults (and they were several), the play did make it's point, and made it well. Christ did suffer, He did die, He is alive.

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