Go see ‘Godspell,’ Amen

Cast and crew at Motyer-Fancy ramp up to show week for their production of the quirky and serendipitous musical ‘Godspell’

Turning the gospels into a modern musical? It’s more likely than you’d think. John Briand/Submitted

You know the rules: no discussing religion at the dinner table. You can however discuss religion at the Motyer-Fancy Theatre this weekend with the cast of Godspell. The show runs at 7:30 p.m. from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2.

In a religious musical based on the Gospel According to Matthew set in modern day, the characters transform known parables into catchy teaching moments that have you humming the whole way home. Who wouldn’t want to see a tap-dancing Jesus Christ? No, seriously.

Director Paul Del Motte really centres on building community and faith through the ideas of storytelling, passing along knowledge. Other than a few named characters, the cast is asked to use their own names throughout the show, which brings a sense of modernity to the stage. “I just love the nature of the community and asking the cast to play themselves,” said Del Motte. “The cast isn’t asked to play someone older or younger; they’re asked to play their own age. They also bring some of their own personal things to each role.”

Set in a classic high school, complete with a basketball hoop and chain link fence, cast members portray the parables in a clownish way. The light-hearted interpretations of these stories paired with moments of audience participation will have you giggling in no time, but also pondering the timelessness of these stories that ultimately lead to the betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus.

It’s not until late in the show that the cast takes on more earnest subject matter in the form of the crucifixion.

While the show does deal with some darker moments, the peppy music and interactions with the pit band can transform those darker moments into something a little easier to grasp. In this particular portrayal, the resurrection comes from the community, which is simply beautiful.

“I hope audiences can really take away a sense of hope as today’s social climate is a constant barrage of bad news,” said cast member Hannah Tuck. “It can be very draining.”

What I constantly find fascinating about religious shows is that audience members can always find a message if they’re open to it. No matter your religion or lack thereof, the themes of optimism and making our world a better place ring true. Go see Godspell, timeless show that makes you consider the tumultuous era in which we live. Del Motte and the cast make it well worth it.

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