Performed in front of a sold-out crowd, “And The Word Became Flesh,” an adaptation of the Gospel of John, offered a seamless rendition of the traditional story when it opened in the Black Box Theater Friday night.
The director, Brent Maddox, had the idea to adapt the Gospel of John into a live theatrical performance so that it might connect with audiences as both a body of literary work and an entertaining performance.
“The sense of the text is determined as a reader (or audience member) interacts with the story,” Maddox said in his director’s note. “The key to unlocking the Gospel’s message is to view it as a text to which we react, which forces us to respond to Jesus as the story unfolds.”
With this intention in mind, the cast and crew presented a dynamic interpretation of the Gospel of John in which they traded roles narrating the tale that outlined Jesus’ travels, miracles, teachings and rebirth.
The action sequences were represented by dance, and the engaging, fast-paced narration style kept the audience on the edge of their seats. Although the Gospel of John is a well-known story, the actors presented the tale in a refreshing, unique fashion that encouraged the audience to contemplate faith and the significance of the Gospel of John long after the lights dimmed.
The set design was sparse, which allowed the actors to traverse the set, interact with the audience and dance unhindered by props. Because of the minimalist set design, it allowed other components of the design team to flourish.
Alyssa Maddox presented flawless choreography and the lighting design, run by Rylee Hickey, perfectly matched the scene changes that enhanced the fluctuating dynamics of the play.
Some of the strongest scenes relied on the voices of Jesus, played by Erik Hylko, India Jane Grimsley and Breanna Theobald. These scenes included Lazerus’ rising, the Last Supper and the betrayal of Judas that proved especially engaging and showcased the impressive cast.
“And The Word Became Flesh,” will be playing the rest of the weekend with free tickets for Belmont students.
This article written by Henry Gregson. Photo by Rick Malkin, courtesy of Belmont University Department of Theater and Dance.