Last evening we watched the LDS play “Savior of the World”. It is published and supported by the church, but produced by local people. Terri’s sister was the director of this particular production, and her husband and children were in the play, so we were invited.
We enjoyed it very much. The music was mostly original, and superb, some of it masterful. There were no music credits at all, but it sounded like Lex De Azevedo to me. The cast was amazing. The young Mary the Mother of Christ was perfectly cast. I wouldn’t be surprised if she were the real Mary’s twin. She was “fair and beautiful above all other virgins”. And, oddly enough, she was from an LDS Jewish family. The actor who played Peter, was her father interestingly enough.
There were so many highlights that this blog would be long and tedious if I tried to write about them all. There were three things that struck me as especially wonderful.
The first was that the acting was so professional. These were local folks, but they practically glowed with the Spirit, and they acted on stage with deep emotion – more than talent, as if they had become the people they were portraying. Their singing was amazingly beautiful, especially several duets by Mary and Joseph, and the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. Even (doubting) Thomas had a beautiful solo.
The second thing was personal, and isn’t according to the biblical record. As I was watching the annunciation to Mary, the angel gave his message, and Mary answered joyfully, “behold the handmaiden of the Lord”. The Spirit swept through me and gave me this impression: The angel actually appeared to Mary three times. The first two times she responded with wonder and pondering. The last time she replied very humbly and accepted her role as the mother of the Savior of mankind. This, of course, is just an impression, but it was amazing and beautiful to me.
The other thing that stunned me didn’t happen in the play. After the performance we met with Terri’s sister’s family backstage and rejoiced with them in a successful and very spiritual performance. Her husband told me that he had had a very special experience. The play was written to have no live actor portray Christ, and they had practiced the scene where they are told to “handle me and see” without anyone standing there many times. A man was later cast as Christ, and joined their rehearsals. The first time they practiced that scene, her husband said he noticed that there actually was a scar in his hand. He looked at the other hand, and there was one there too. As the scene progressed, he touched his feet and there were scars on the top of both of his feet. He said he began to weep, as did the other few who were scripted to come forth and touch his hands and feet.
Later, he found out that this man had had neural surgery in both of his hands and feet. The actor had a few spoken lines, but his back was always toward the audience. He never sang, and we never saw his face. He had a Master’s Degree in theatre and voice performance.
I can’t help but wonder that he was so uniquely prepared to play this extraordinary role. It seems that his life’s experience, even the unpleasantness of surgery, had made him the perfect stand-in for the Savior. He did not want his name on the program, and only his few “disciples” knew about his unique scars, and that made last night’s performance especially wonderful to me.