Monday, May 7, 2018

A God Thing

This weekend my sister Molly and I had what we dubbed a Cultured Weekend of Theater (CWOT).

On Friday night we went to see Future Echoes at The Den Theatre, directed by none other than BFFL Meg McGrath. Meg made sure to seat us in the "scary seats," so that bloodied, wheezing actors slithered over our feet to crawl onto the stage. Delightful.

If you want to see an ambitious play, Future Echoes is for you. Everything about it is formidable, from the physics-heavy script to the open set design. Bring your brains along--you'll have to do a lot of thinking. Also, you may very well get stage blood on you! I recommend it.

On Saturday we went to a matinee of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Lyric Opera, and HOLY MOLY did it blow my mind. I would honestly rank it in the top 10 productions I've ever seen in my life. The set design was really cool--the orchestra was sitting in two different places on the stage, one half atop a platform and one half tucked into the trees (yeah, there were trees), so the conductor had to lead the musicians via video screens attached to the balcony. The performers were phenomenal--I can't get their voices out of my head. The guy who played Jesus actually got a standing ovation in the middle of the show for "Gethsemane" because it was that good. And they made some bizarre directorial choices that I loved. Herod especially was brilliant--the actor played him as a demented, violent (but fabulous!) drag queen in a diaper. Sort of like Caligula on steroids? But he somehow made that ridiculous song scary, which was a first for me.

The whole production was a much darker interpretation of the musical than I normally see, but I loved it. It's in Chicago until May 20th, so if you get the chance, you should go, despite the cost. Totally worth it. In the meantime, I'll be searching desperately for a cast recording.

During intermission I was talking with Molly about my second novel (it's still in the very early stages--don't get too excited). Though it's completely different from my first, the plot still involves religion to an extent. Molly said people were going to think that I had a "God thing."

But I do have a God thing, even though I'm not involved with organized religion at all anymore. There are two obvious reasons for this:
  • Residual effects from years of Catholic schooling
  • I'm agnostic, not atheist 
More than that, though, I simply think the concept of faith is interesting. People often make serious decisions based on no empirical evidence whatsoever--only the conviction that their beliefs are the correct beliefs. And it's not just traditionally religious people. Most people have faith in something intangible, even if it's not a god. That's why religion and God seem like universal themes to me, even if religion isn't universal. Faith is. 

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