The Bible as Theatre

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Dogwood Dell, July & August, 2012 (Potiphar)

As you know, or you should because you’re a daily reader, one of my goals is to read through the Bible again this year. I’ve done it in years past, and am working my way through again.

So far, I’m on track.

The reading plan that I have shows up in my Google calendar each morning and tells me the passages for the day. It’s split between the Old Testament and the New Testament, so that in January I’ve spent most of my time in Genesis and Matthew.

Last Thursday as it turned out, I read in Genesis about Joseph being sold by his brothers (and have continued reading his story), and in Matthew about the beheading of John the Baptist. Look up both stories, they will do you good.

I realized in the reading process that I had been a part of telling both of these stories on stage.

My first venture onto the Richmond theatre scene (other than my work with the Music and Fine Arts ministry at my church) was in the role of Potiphar in the 2012 production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Dogwood Dell. It’s still one of my favorite shows and I look forward to the upcoming production of the show at Jewish Family Theatre in March.

A couple of years later I was a part of Salomé: A Wilde Experiment with TheatreLAB. It was an experimental piece based on Oscar Wilde’s work. It told the story of Salomé who danced for Herod and pleased him so much he offered her whatever she wished. She wished for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. I was background in that piece and basically played the prison bouncer. I had no lines. But it was a fascinating time because we rehearsed and staged two performances in just one week.

There are lots of retellings of Bible stories in the arts. Some more accurate than the others.

And, don’t get me started on all of the blue-eyed, blond-haired depictions of Jesus.

We really do have a tendency to make him into our own image.

That’s another post.

The Bible is full of wonderful stories that are there for the telling. Or the reading. Or both.

I was just struck by the coincidence of both stories showing up in my reading on the same day.

I’m not superstitious, but I also don’t believe in coincidence.

I have no idea what that means.

I suppose it’s fortunate that I wasn’t reading about the madman of the Gadarenes because nobody wants to costume me for that show.

And yes, you’ll have to look that one up on your own.


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