Sunday, June 06, 2010

Corpus Christi Comes to Dallas

Terrence McNally's allegorical passion play Corpus Christi finally made it to Texas.  When it opened back in 1998 it was received with protests and bomb threats.  So what the heck could cause such hatred?

The story is told through characters living in Corpus Christi, Texas and the principal character Josh, is gay.  As I noted it is a passion play and Josh represents Jesus and that was the key to all the anger.  Protests and hatred have dogged this play since it was first performed, but I would suspect most of those who are angry have never seen it or read it. 

In actuality the play is a very engaging and accessible portrayal of the life of Jesus and the actors in this production based out of LA carry it off with enthusiasm and sincerity without being preachy.  That is a good trick, since the script is really what I call pure theater.  The staging is minimal, most carried onstage by the actors in backpacks.  Characters continuously assume other roles and personae and the changes are sometimes startling and a bit confusing.  Gender is no obstacle to any character since men and women play roles of both genders. 

The story is well known, yet this cast manages to being freshness to their roles and to the plot that you are actually wondering how it will end.  But we all know that, and when Josh is arrested and beaten and finally crucified, there were few dry eyes in the house. 

The traveling production performed at my church the Cathedral of Hope, and it was a great setting for the play since it begins and ends with a draped table resembling an alter with a single candle on it.  Very moving and touching and poignant and even more so being performed in a predominately LGBT church. The final perfomance is tonight, so you probably won't have time to get tickets but if you can do it.

And if you are thinking about protesting the performance, forget it, the church property extends so far away from the building you wil be unnoticed except by the police who were in attendance for the audience and actors safety.

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