This weekend is Easter weekend. Today is good Friday. At Wayside Theatre we’re running our exciting production of Cotton Patch Gospel, which tells the story of the Gospel, but set in Georgia with a real down home twist. It is based on the New Testament books of Matthew and John, and the writings of Clarence Jordan. The music is by Harry Chapin and was the last music he wrote before his untimely death.
Given the religious subject matter, I’m excited to see and feel the resonances this weekend as audiences attend this show as a part of their Easter weekend. As the show winds its way towards the crucifixion (in the play it is a lynching) a stillness that is palpable always envelopes the theatre. The release and the relief that occurs upon the resurrection is also tangible. The mix of prior knowledge, expectations, an amazing performance by Ray Ficca, and an outstanding approach to the storytelling by the authors all conspire to create something really powerful. We’ve got a lot of families coming to the show together this weekend to share it together.
As expected, we’ve already had some folks who have been very upset with the show, calling it sacrilegious, and some who think it is too religious. They get equally upset. Just goes to show you that you can’t please them all, and just how crazy we can be on all sides of any discussion about religion.
We certainly don’t intend to offend anyone with the show, but the semiotics are what they are, and the story is what it is. In fact, we’re doing this show primarily because it is great story telling, and it tells a great story. That makes it great theatre.
I’m sure there will be some interesting discussions around the show this weekend and I look forward to hearing and participating in them, regardless of how they turn out.
Hope you and yours have a Happy Easter weekened, however or whatever you choose to celebrate.