In the heart of Los Angeles, a theater company is mounting a Passion Play called Revival. The
lead actor is making his way to the theater, though he is late for his half-hour call—a virtually
unforgivable breach of protocol. But, then again, in our story time is very fluid.
We begin the experience with a voice; a mix of a campfire tale and a curtain speech literally
setting the stage for the miraculous events to follow. The narrator is uttering a disclaimer: what
we are about to see is a fusion of time and place, theater and film, man and God. It will be
unique, we hear. We sense that the actor playing Jesus is himself a rather unique being.
As the show begins, and as the actor prepares, he flashes back to a series of traumatic moments.
Scenes from the Passion: A spike driving down, a crown of thorns, a crude instrument of torture,
a cross. It would seem garment that he touches is a kind of talisman, and triggers a vision. Or is it
a projection? Or…is it a memory?
Thereafter we, like the actor playing Jesus, experience the events of Jesus’ public ministry both
as performance as a Passion Play, and alternately as an actual lived experience.
In the “real” world of Jesus, his first encounter is with Mary Magdalene after His Resurrection.
Startled to see Him alive, she sing an anthem to glorify the awesome miracle she has just
witnessed. As the song concludes we reveal that we are back in the theater during a performance
of the Passion Play. The world of the story and the production itself are now merged.
Elsewhere, Jesus reveals Himself to His disciples and two of His followers who do not recognize
Him. During their encounter, they regale Jesus with the story of the beginning of His ministry.
We flash back to the beginning of the His public life with the baptism by John in the Jordan
From there Jesus goes on to Cana to perform His first open miracle by turning water to wine.
We track Him through His trials in the wilderness and then on to His most startling
works. Many of these are related in musical form in the classical Hollywood/Broadway styles.
Jesus’ miracles begin to attract unwelcome attention from the Pharisees whose sense of
entitlement and security He threatens, and even more attention brought about from the people
whom He heals.
Throughout the unfolding drama, the hostilities and miracles play out both in the “real” (or
hyperreal) world, and on the stage. The narrative of Jesus ministry is both theatrical and actual.
Ultimately, the actions of Jesus lead Him to a trial before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate
who is drawn back inexorably to his historic confrontation with Christ. And from there to his
Jesus, still not recognized, listens as the disciples on the road to Emmaus describe these awful
events: His death and interment. Finally, Jesus reveals Himself to chroniclers. They had felt
something, but now they fully understand…He has come back from the grave—as He said he
During this song of revelation, we pull back to reveal that time has jumped back to the
performance, and the show which has just concluded in actual life is, ironically, about to begin
onstage. It is opening night in front of a full audience. And the curtain speech is setting the stage.
Time is, after all, a matter of perception.