Saturday, March 12, 2011

jesus hopped the 'a' train | director's notes

Notes from director Angela Konrad on JESUS HOPPED THE 'A' TRAIN.

The first time I read JESUS HOPPED THE 'A' TRAIN I was hooked. The language is so raw, the characters so real, the Scriptural references so revelatory. I was moved to laughter and to tears, provoked into reading passages aloud to anyone who would listen. When I talked about the play, I found my heart racing; I became eager to take others along on the journey.

Yet the fact that I liked it so much made me uncomfortable. The juxtaposition of grit and God is unsettling, even shocking. What’s a nice TWU prof doing with a play like this?

There are countless reasons I felt I had to do this play but here are three of them.

First off, I like discomfort in theatre. When I go to a play, I want to see something that makes me sit up straight and pay attention, something that challenges my views and shuns easy answers.

Second, I am irresistibly drawn to plays that take faith seriously. In a world that rarely even offers God the courtesy of debating His existence, this play thrusts issues of faith and forgiveness, personal responsibility and the gift of grace, into the centre of the argument.

And third, I find the struggles of these characters incredibly compelling and startlingly familiar. Despite the fact that I have never been to a prison, the metaphorical cages that trap these characters I know very well.

When I was first falling in love with this play, I remember telling someone it was the most foul-mouthed and profoundly Christian play I had ever read. I stand by those words.

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