Ticklish Ears

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Godspell and the Resurrection

Our University Players and the Black Theatre Ensemble are performing the musical Godspell at our new Fine and Performing Arts Center*. We have tickets for Sunday’s matinee performance. Maybe I’ll have a review after that.

But what I wanted to bring up was more of a “theology meets the arts” issue (perhaps we could call it a “theoatrical” issue). Earlier this week, the Asheville paper had a story about the play (not a permalink). One topic was the question of including a Resurrection scene in the performance:

“Godspell” has often been attacked for its sometimes comedic portrayal of Jesus and for sometimes not including a Resurrection scene after Jesus’ crucifixion.

[Creator Stephen] Schwartz left it up to individual directors to decide whether they wanted to include a resurrection, [Director and Communications Professor Claire] Eye said. WCU’s presentation will not include a resurrection.

“The point is not what happens to Jesus but what happens to the people surrounding him while he’s here,” Eye said.

It’s that last statement that interests me. I suppose I should wait until I see the play, but I don’t think you can dismiss the post-Resurrection life of “the people surrounding” Jesus so quickly. You can’t really understand Peter by only examining his life before the Resurrection (see, for example, John 21 - the famous thrice-spoken”Simon, do you love Me more than these?” dialogue that is sometimes seen as a counter to the three denials of Jesus by Peter before the Crucifixion).

The same holds true for many of the folks in Jesus’ circle of followers and friends. Their pre-Resurrection stories are only half-told.

Mind you, I’m not planning to protest the lack of a Resurrection scene. I’m just saying that you can’t claim to be telling the whole tale without it.

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*Update: 11/19/05
I was mistaken as to the location of the performance. I think that it was originally to be in the new FPAC, but apparently they decided to move it to Hoey Auditorium, where they’ve put on most plays in the past.

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