I tried to see this one in other cities - Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton - thinking to maybe bring it out to Pacific Theatre. Actually got a Canada Council grant to check it out at one point, but the timing was off. And then found out the show would be coming here anyway. So that's good. (Probably wouldn't have fit in my little room anyhow. "Bigger Than Jesus Bigger Than PT!"...)
Pretty sure it won't be exactly orthodox, but pretty sure it will be stimulating, entertaining, and very, very theatrical. I don't know about you, but I often get the most spiritual nourishment from artists who may not be "believers," but who encounter this this stuff with fresh eyes, surprisable hearts and new language. Let yourself be distracted by what they get wrong and you'll probably miss out on what they get right - sometimes, something nobody else got quite right, or at least not in quite the same way, ever before.
When it comes down to it, though, I'm just a Jesus junkie. If it's got that guy in it, I've got to check it out. For good or ill, I'm there.
See you - and Jesus, I hope - at the Cultch.
BIGGER THAN JESUS
Created by Rick Miller and Daniel Brooks
Performed by Rick Miller
Directed by Daniel Brooks
Designed by Beth Kates and Ben Chaisson
Mar 28 - Apr 7, 8pm
Mar 31 & Apr 7, 4pm matinees
Vancouver East Cultural Centre
Who was Jesus? Was he the Son of God or just another prophet? Bigger than Jesus begins with a 33-year-old man coming face to face with the Roman Catholicism ingrained in his youth. He leads us on a quest to understand the tremendous impact that a Jewish peasant from Galilee has had on the world. Through twelve interlocking character portraits (mirroring the 12 stages of the Passion), we confront varying interpretations of Christ and Christianity, and the often cavernous gulf between them.
This challenging new one-man show features the trademark humour and intelligence of actor/playwright Rick Miller. Live video projections show off Miller’s facial expressions, Daniel Brooks’ clever staging, and the play’s innovative design. Bigger than Jesus has wowed audiences across Canada, the US, Germany and Italy. Christians and non-Christians alike will find plenty of philosophical points to chew over, as well as virtuoso performing and staging to enjoy. Visit the show's website to learn more.
TOP 10 SHOWS of 2004—Toronto Star
TOP 10 SHOWS of 2004—NOW Magazine
BEST of 2004—EYE Magazine
WINNER: Dora Award for Production, Actor and Lighting
ABOUT THE SHOW
"Religion is the best defense against a religious experience." Carl Jung
"An exciting piece of multimedia theater with a challenging point of view, Bigger Than Jesus could have a big future... a fast-paced, thought-provoking ride." Variety
Two thousand years after his death, Jesus continues to be a potent and controversial figure, inspiring both devout worship and incalculable violence. Who was Jesus? Was he the Son of God or just another prophet? A politically correct social worker or the Messiah? Bigger than Jesus grapples with the thorny crown of Christianity through conflicting viewpoints, each embodied by a character obsessed with Jesus. A challenging new one-man show featuring the trademark humour and intelligence of Rick Miller.
"Miller and Brooks divide the piece into several substantial units. In each of them, Miller plays a different character: a Jewish academic, a revivalist preacher, an obsequious flight attendant, and, finally, Jesus himself. One of the show's strengths is the way miller takes each of these portraits right to the edge, making them zestily theatrical, but without ever slipping into caricature.
"The best sequence is the Last Supper, which Miller begins by staging with a series of tiny plastic dolls - everyone from Jesus through the Tin Man, Darth Vader and George W. Bush. He then launches into a sharp and accurate parody of "Gesthemene" from Jesus Christ Superstar, which shows off his excellent singing voice and scores some telling satirical points.
"One of the show's greatest strengths is the use of a live video camera that allows Miller's facial expressions and Brooks' clever staging to be seen to best advantage. The camera flies, twists and changes focus to create a series of striking, always apt visual images, sometimes projecting onto the screen, sometimes onto Miller himself.
"Non-Christian viewers may not grasp all the subtleties of the piece's parallel structure with the Catholic Mass but will still find plenty of philosophical points to chew over, as well as virtuoso performing and staging to enjoy." Variety
Weaving together the Catholic liturgy, the gospels and some good old-fashioned bible-thumpin’, Bigger than Jesus is a funny and poignant multi-media mass that questions the mysteries of life and the thorny crown of Christianity.
This challenging new one-man show features the trademark humour and intelligence of actor/playwright Rick Miller. Live video projections show off Miller’s facial expressions, Daniel Brooks’ clever staging, and the play’s innovative design. Bigger than Jesus has wowed audiences across Canada, the US, Germany and Italy. Christians and non-Christians alike will find plenty of philosophical points to chew over, as well as virtuoso performing and staging to enjoy.