Godspell is in the center of the Emerson ring, just like a circus

by Beacon Staff • April 15, 2009

Director Chris Brindley said it was a coincidence that his Musical Theater Society production of iGodspell/i, which is based on a book in the Bible, run the weekend after Easter.

"I knew that I wanted to do the show in April, but when it worked out that we could do the show the weekend after Easter, I was ecstatic," he said, "I think it will allow our audiences to be in the right mindset for seeing the show."

The show is the narration of the stories and parables of Jesus and his followers found in the Book of Matthew.

It begins with Jesus gathering his apostles and ends with his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. The sixties-inspired score was written by Stephen Schwartz of iWicked/i and iPippin/i fame.

The show is April 16 and 17 at 8 p.m. at the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center in the South End. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at the Emerson's Max Mutchnick campus center.

Brindley, a junior theatre education performance major, sat down for an e-mail interview with iThe Beacon/i to explain a little more about what audiences can expect from his latest effort:

bBerkeley Beacon:/b Would you give me a summary of what iGodspell/i is about?

bChris Brindley:/b iGodspell/i is a musical based on the stories and parables of the Book of St. Matthew. It explores themes of humanity and life through the lens of Christianity. This is what the text gives us. However, for me this play is more about the building community through storytelling. The contemporary score is written by Stephen Schwartz.

bBB:/b Why did you decide to direct iGodspell/i and how did the production come about? What attracted you to the production?

bCB:/b I was in iGodspell/i my junior year of high school. It was the most fun I have ever had in a show.

So, I wanted to bring this opportunity to Emerson. The show is abstract at times and lends itself well to allowing directors and actors to put their own spin on it. I knew this was the right show to propose for the Emerson community because the talented group of actors we have to pull from is so widely diverse and creative.

Most of what you will see in this show is through guided exploration and "having fun" with the text.

bBB:/b Would you please explain a little bit about the set, the costumes and the music of your production of iGodspell/i?

bCB:/b Putting on a musical takes a great amount of time, energy and team work. I could not have mounted this production by myself. First and foremost, my good friend, Chris Holownia, who does not attend Emerson at all, but is a teacher at Wellesley High School treks out to Boston each night to serve as our musical director.

Jess Wierzba, a senior Musical Theater major did all of the choreography. Plus we have a full team of designers, stage managers and one very dedicated producer. The list goes on and on.

Too many people to mention. Theatre at its best is a collaborative art and this is certainly nothing short of collaborative.

bBB:/b Is there anything different or unique about this iGodspell/i production or did you stay true to the script and basic premise?

bCB:/b We did not stray from the script much. However, we did set the show in a circus. When I went to revisit this show, I was certain that the life of a circus performer directly correlated to this idea of a traveling band of storytellers and would beautifully play out in this show. The character of Jesus, being the ring master of this circus.

bBB:/b What do you hope your audiences will take home from your production?

bCB:/b I hope that audiences will have fun with this show. I want them to come, take in the stories, take in the music,and allow the show to wash over them. Over thinking this script will sometimes leave you baffled in a corner.