Tell me a little bit about your character. Who are you? Without any spoilers.
I am playing the role of Jesus as in the world of John. You know He dies and comes back to life which is basically what the play is about. The book of John is basically based off of seven I AM statements and seven miracles and the play sort of follows this as well since it’s completely based off the book of John. The play goes pretty well into detail. I guess not too deeply but it does mention all of the miracles and I AM statements and all of those things that are contributing to Jesus.
So more about your character Jesus. Is he in like the majority of the play? Or does he have like one key scene?
Surprisingly, Jesus is in a lot less of the play than you would think. In the play there’s a lot of scenes of people’s responses to the miracles performed. So there’s a lot less of Jesus doing miracles, whereas there’s more people responding to it being like ‘There’s this guy, He’s doing miracles, could he be the Messiah?”
Was it really hard to memorize your lines?
Actually, no. There are a lot of other people with a lot more lines than I have and when I do have them, they’re usually pretty short. I am in a lot of scenes but my lines and scenes are really spread out so it’s really concise and contained in different sections so it’s pretty easy to learn actually.
What other characters are you excited for the audience to see?
A character I am really excited for everyone would see would have to be Gurney. He’s an original character and he was the person in the Bible that was paralyzed from birth and then Jesus heals him and he gets up. The guy who plays him (Nick Robinson) does a fantastic job of performing that. It’s just pretty funny and cool. There’s another scene with Judas that I think is pretty… interesting. I don’t know how other people will respond to it, but I personally really liked it.
So this is completely based off the Bible right?
Yes, the book of John.
Will you give me a short summary of the play?
So it starts off with a small introduction and it goes into the scene where Jesus turns the water into wine and it keeps on following down this path where He starts getting a following and more people are always around Him. No one really assumes in the beginning that He’s the Messiah, but He’s just doing all these things. Eventually it gets to a point where Pharisees start showing up and are a little bit agitated and it goes into detail about how Jesus performed a miracle during the Sabbath and the Pharisees don’t like that. So it sort of gets that correlation with like why the Pharisees are angry with Jesus.
Through this play have you grown closer in your relationship with Christ?
Yes, but more in like a knowledge way. Like I know more now about these miracles and the impact they made on not only the people they were performed upon, but everyone else really. That was the thing that really got my Spiritual life back and pumped up.
Would you like for the audience to notice the same things you are?
That is one of our goals that the audience would really see the subtleties and obviously that won’t happen with everyone because some people may get bored, others may fall asleep or get distracted but we really hope that they do notice these things from the Bible and they will grow spiritually.
After that, I turned to Mr. Luedeke to get some answers straight from the director himself.
What is this play about?
The play is virtually the Gospel of John, highlighting the seven miracles Jesus performed that are recorded in that book: turning the water into wine, healing the centurion’s son, healing the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda, feeding the 5000, walking on water, healing the man born blind, and raising of Lazarus. Rather than show the miracles in action, they are reported and reflected upon by the people who were there to see it, making this a very personal and intimate script.
Who are some of the main characters?
Senior Jake Smith plays the role of John, who acts as narrator, commentator and key player. The other roles are the people who witnessed the miracles. It is very much an ensemble piece. Derek Klinker plays the role of Jesus. There are twenty students in the cast.
Why did you choose this play?
This is the third time I have directed this script, but the first time I’ve ever done it with a student cast. The other times it was with adults. I love the language of the script. I love how it makes the ministry of Christ on earth real – these were real events that impacted real people. I also wanted to choose a script that could involve a large number of our student body in the cast. And I needed to select something that was not terribly long, because our performance weekend came early this year.