When I jumped on board a project to write and direct a Christian play with a mentor and friend of mine, I knew it was going to be hard. I signed on, because it was already something I was doing as a personal project – ‘Body=Barrier’. I was excited to see whether my own writing was up for the challenge, and whether I could direct something that was not only outside my experience but was an experience that I rejected in my own life so long ago.
Turns out that’s not the problem at all…
Anyone who knows performance knows that emotions get higher the closer to the show a cast gets. And, for those who are wondering, we’re less than a month away from showtime. Added to the fact that you therefore need to get your ticket now, it means there are some issues that maybe only the Almighty God himself can handle about the creative process.
In a room where people of all different faiths and experiences are coming together to display one religious play, produced by a very excited Pentecostal and two people with their own individual spiritual codes, there’s bound to be some…wrangling… There has been concerns about everything from how much scriptures one should use to how Satan would enter heaven. It’s been enlightening in many ways, even when it was a pain in some of our sides. The cast, the other director and myself have seen the different shades of Christianity, and how they sometimes come in conflict with each other, have discovered how jarring some kinds of Christians can be, and seen how difficult representing spirituality can be when everyone isn’t of the exact same persuasion.
To be honest, it’s brought a few of us dangerously close to the cliff. It may very well be the importance of the play that has stopped some of us from falling off the project. People’s interpretations of religion, spirituality, scripture, faith and even their own Christianity has come into question in creative and surprising ways. The delivery of the exact same simple 10-word line can be vastly different between two people, even two people who believed in the same God, had the same faith, and followed the same rules.
And I think that’s what makes this play even more valuable. ‘2 Creations’ isn’t just about a faithful man being tormented by Satan. Now, it’s about what faith looks like, feels like, and can do, even when it’s not jarring and in-your-face. It’s about how we possibly misunderstand both God and Satan, and how our understandings of them can’t truly make complete sense. And, for me, it’s about how faith intersects. Our lead character could truly believe in anything, and the play would possibly be exactly the same. Moreover, that belief can be properly crafted by someone who himself does not share it. So the play even shares a lesson about tolerance – that the people we think are against us in belief are sometimes the same ones that are willing to tell the stories of our faiths, and can do it just as accurately as we can.
Or maybe all this is a lie…after all, I perform as Satan in the play…