Capturing Biblical truths on stage
We celebrate the birth and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as another opportunity for "sewo" where we indulge in gluttony and various festivities and pay no homage to the Man sent as the Son of God to give his life as a sacrifice for us all.
We give more prominence to the fables of Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, moose, retreats to the beach, to family tables for lunch and dinner as we immerse ourselves in fun and frolic activities rather than the death and resurrection of Christ.
Nothing wrong, one may say, but when the historical event of the betrayal, crucifixion and death of Christ play second fiddle there is cause for concern. Maybe if the event stopped at the grave but it moved beyond.
Biblical scrolls, historical scholars and scores of eye witnesses confirm that the greatest event ever to take place on the earth took place well over 2000 years ago; that of the resurrection of the Christ as foretold by many prophets who preceded him. There were also hundreds who rose from the grave to emphasize that this man, the Son of God has the power to triumph over death.
We once had a number of choirs, skits and plays in celebration of the event but now it has waned. Yes, we will see this week a lot of people piously with arms folded, bread in hands taking the symbolic "body and blood" singing lustily at the top of their voices "He is risen" or "Up from the grave he arose" but do we take time off to analyze the impact of this new testament and our own life in Christ.
Actually the arts serve as an important tool to give meaning on stage where these biblical events can be brought to life; Noah and the ark, Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath, Adam and Eve ( not Steve), Jonah and the Whale and of course the crucifixion of Christ through the eyes of Judas, Barabbas or Mary!
The last such play we saw in Dominica was Alwin Bully's adaptation of "Jesus Christ Super-Star" some four decades ago; since then the Arawak House of Culture has not been graced with any Bible-based play in any major way. This, to my mind, says a lot about our "Christian" society.
One really does not have to muster up any energy or have any belief system or attach any commitment to putting on one's Sunday best, go to church, smile and shake hands before going home. It's just a tradition, being politically correct, an outward show of sorts- for many.
Surely more commitment and some level of believe is required to learn lines in a play, follow directions from the director and perform with the passion required to convince and cause inward introspection as we look upon the passion of Christ. Mel Gibson's presented a most heart churning account, as I am sure it was, based on the writings in the gospel and brutality of Roman rule in that era. This should move everyone with a soul, unless we see it as another Hollywood fable, detached from reality.
No friends, it is based on reality albeit a long time ago; the most dominant religions of the world, Christians and Muslims, will testify in varying detail to such an cataclysmic event; except the later do not acknowledge the God-man as the savior of the world or the Son of God.
Whatever your conviction, I call on artistes, groups particularly theatre groups on island (in fact I challenge them) as well as the churches in the future, particularly as we have a visual generation who really never read the Bible, that we should find a way, every year to relay the story of the death and resurrection.
Many times these churches reach the same persons every year; they're preaching to the saved. Not even to the House of Culture some Christians would venture to go to witness a play. Such is the heights of hypocrisy. I have seen introspective plays by NDT and Téyat Pawòl or presented by Pentecostals or Seventh Day Adventist groups and other denominations keep far away because t6o them it "a sin" to go to places where 'sinners congregate'.
For me, it's not just about talk for I have created a radio serial with some utilizing the talents of some SMA students which DBS air annually about this time, bringing to life the Easter story through the eyes of Barabbas, but I will be the first to admit, much more can be done.
Through our creative expressions it might be one way of reaching our youth for our history has survived because of the oral traditions of song, dance and theater. So let us through our God given talent, through the performing arts proclaim deliverance from sin, with some meaning that "HE is not dead, HE IS RISEN". We have seen interpretations in the movies; let's see it on the Dominican stage.
A blessed Easter to all.