Jesus Christ Superstar
Posted 09 January 2005 - 04:02 AM
: It is if God hasn't forsaken you. My interpretation has always been that God did
: not abandon Jesus, and later on in the psalm it says as much: "He has not hidden
: his face from him, but has listened to his cry for help."
Well, perhaps, in quoting (some of? all of?) that psalm, Jesus was alluding to this, too.
Posted 09 January 2005 - 04:52 AM
Hmm I'm a bit confused. The link you sent said it had Glenn Carter as Jesus. CArter plays Jesus in JCSS in the videoed version which I believe is the official version. But I'd be very surprised to find that that version (which I saw a version of a couple of years ago) has Jesus rise before the curtain call as it didn;t do then, and in the video it doesn't even end with a curtain call.
The version I'm seeing is am-dam , I think. It's by the Christchurch Theatre Club although there's no indication that they have any links with a church. Actually seeing this picture makes me think I've at least see this guy play Jesus in JCSS before - then it was in a church, although I don't think it was their church. They did end with a resurrection scene then though.
Key elements: Play it the way Jesus prayed. Don't do the whole thing angry--have him struggle with his task--and at the ending, do not play it resigned.
Part of the thing though is we don't know how Jesus said what he said we can guess based on the rest of the things he says, but ultimtealy its only our pre-conceptions that tell us that Jesus didn't say this petulantly (pehaps unlikely if we see him as sinless), or angrily (possible given his display in the temple a few days earlier)
: You faded jaded jaded faded jaded Mandarin.
THat is one terrible line, and should be born in mind when we're considering the other lyrics in depth
: For all the dust-up Mel Gibson's movie caused, I'm amazed no one ever protests
: JCS . . .
Actually... Granted, there's only a brief, brief allusion to the controversy there, but I believe there HAVE been protests. The arguably anti-Semitic elements in Jesus Christ Superstar are kind of to be expected, though, since this film, just like Mel's, is based on the medieval passion-play template.
That said there is no trial before the sanhedrin which sort of helps. Actually though the main controversy with Jewison's film is that he cast a black actor to play Judas. As Stern et al point out, its a bit of a superficial objection given that Judas is the most attractive character in the film, that Jesus has other black / asian disciples and that Judas clearly gets redeemed (at least in that version not in the recent version so clearly though).
Posted 09 January 2005 - 06:48 AM
It is difficult to see how what happened in the production I saw could be interpreted as anything other than the Resurrection, although I can't say whether it was part of the original play.
Posted 09 January 2005 - 08:05 AM
I'm not saying it didn't happen, Peter, I'm saying, in my experience, people seem to prefer to have an image of Jesus being serene and calm through the entire experience. The suffering in the garden was never touched on in Sunday school, it was mentioned but no really developed in sermons, whenever I've seen *art* of Jesus in the garden it's always a serene Jesus with His head bowed in payer, most of the famous crucifixion art has Jesus gazing up into heaven with a look of mild discomfort on His face.
As you pointed out, it's in the Bible. But churches and preachers seem to avoid it as much as possible.
Posted 11 January 2005 - 10:43 AM
I agree with most of the difficulties listed above reconciling the garden scene with the Jesus portrayed in scripture. So, I'll leave that alone. Two other things I found troublesome in the play and, to change tone, several things I found encouraging.
1. Jesus line to the disciples at the arrest is one of the furthest from reality I can think of
"Don't you know that it's all over
It was nice but now it's gone
Why are you obsessed with fighting?
Stick to fishing from now on"
I don't think anyone believes Jesus thought that "it’s all over" and he certainly never told the disciples in the bible to go back to their day job. He knew and had expressed to them they would continue his ministry. Especially disturbing is the defeatist "It was nice but now it's gone". As if Jesus is giving up on his ministry all together.
2. Jesus line to those who want to be healed after the temple scene, where he tells them to heal themselves. I don't remember Jesus ever turning away people who were looking to be healed. Maybe I'm wrong but this seems to be completely opposite of the Jesus we read about in scripture.
And on the positive side
1. I still think that, if played non-sexual, "I Don't know How to Love Him" is one of the most powerful expressions of our own dilemma when it comes to knowing and loving Jesus. The love Jesus shows to us and that we desire to return is so foreign to any other love we know that we all, in a sense, "don't know how to love him".
2. My favorite song in the show is "Could We Start Again Please". I really think that song captures the disciple’s disillusionment and despair after the arrest. In this case in particular, I think Tim Rice nailed it.
When our local community theater did the show, my daughter was in it, playing one of the angelic figures that haunt Judas throughout (I don't know if every version has these). I had never seen the show before that. Through rehearsals, I had some of the same misgivings about some of the lyrics as have been expressed. But, in the directors notes in the program, the director made it clear that this is an account from Judas' perspective and that it takes liberties with the only written account that we have available, i.e. the bible. He told the audience that in the end, they need to investigate for themselves through means other than just a musical who Jesus was. I thought that was pretty cool.
BTW, that performance did not have a resurrection or curtain call. It ended with Mary onstage alone. At first she is in complete despair. But, as each one of the "angels" passed by her and cast a smile upon her, her countenance improved until she was beaming with hope. It was very powerful and was a clear message that the story didn't end at Jesus' death.
Posted 13 January 2005 - 03:54 AM
: expression of doubt.
Maybe, maybe not. The fact that Jesus is quoting scripture here does, at least, mean that even his expression of doubt (if that is what it is) is grounded in his faith.
FWIW I'm not sure Jesus did quote this scripture at the point of his death. It seems as likely to me that he said something similar and those OT-quote-trigger-happy gospel writers paraphrased it as a scriptural quote. They knew how Jesus fulfilled scripture, but I'm not sure Jesus hung on the cross trying to think of a scriptural allusion that summed up his emotion at that point, or that he pre-planned it. Perhaps he'd been meditating on that passage in the run up to the crucifixion knowing he was going to die so when the time came it came to mind naturally...I dunno
Posted 17 January 2005 - 12:27 PM
Posted 26 January 2005 - 05:18 AM
That said we were on the third row which was probably about the best place to view it from.
I don't have much to say about it, but I will say....
1 - Was surprised that there was no visual references to The Passion in it. No entirely quite sur how this would be done, but I think they deliberately avoided any kind of nod.
2 - We had a Resurrection scene - no words but to the music of Hosanna
3 - Costumes were kind of 21st Century middle eastern - which was really good actually. The main exceptions being Annas and Caiaphas who were dressed in ery sterotypical Jewish dress...
4 - It was difficult to view the play without thinking of the anti-semitism in the Passion debate (which I'd been reading all of the last 2 weeks), and these costumes were really bad in this respect - made them look even more evil scheming and slimy. And Pilate was played as a very weak character. It diod make me think of the 2000 video version which dresses pilate as a Nazi and is played as a very strong character - even though ultimately he is swayed by fear.
Posted 03 August 2006 - 06:53 PM
Posted 03 August 2006 - 10:09 PM
Anyway, when I saw the movie I liked it very much; the "doctrinal problems" for me lessened (the album simply ends w/ an instrumental, called significantly "John 19:41" (which reads, of course, "41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb in which no man had ever yet been laid. [Verse 42 should have been included: "Then because of the Jews' Preparation Day (for the tomb was near at hand) they laid Jesus there."]). In the movie, a symbolic scene of ambiguity occurs with a shepherd figure leading sheep. Was the shepherd Jesus? One is left to guess, but that is a better conclusion than the LP (original recording).
Anyway, I did love the album as a teen, and also Godspell which I played INCESSANTLY after becoming a Christian. I even bought the Doobie Bros album w/ "Jesus is Just Alright with Me," just so I could record it over and over on a cassette to play at my leisure. Yep, xian rock music was rare in them old days -- A few Larry Norman albums, a Barry McGuire LP... pretty thin. So I guess I did the best I could -- anything talking about Jesus was good enough for me.
It makes me smile to remember that.
Posted 03 August 2006 - 10:58 PM
The album is a Holy Week ritual for me.
Alan, yes I agree that Jack Black is great casting for Herod.
Edited by Darrel Manson, 03 August 2006 - 10:59 PM.
Posted 03 August 2006 - 11:07 PM
The album is a Holy Week ritual for me.
Alan, yes I agree that Jack Black is great casting for Herod.
I say "theological mess" with great affection. And it still moves me, for whatever mysterious set of reasons.
Posted 26 September 2009 - 03:15 PM
When you think about Superstar, it is clear that it is a love story. The three main characters are Jesus, Mary and Judas. From the start, Mary looks after Jesus, cares for him, anoints him, and watches over his sleep. She sings about not knowing how to love him. When Judas attacks Jesus, she defends Jesus. As Jesus is led away and it is clear that Jesus’ tale will not have a happy ending for Mary’s love, she sings him a good-bye song, “Could we start again.”
Judas plays an interesting role in the film. He is the first to sing, talking about his close relationship to Jesus and how he is worried that Jesus’ actions are going to bring destruction down on the movement. From that point onwards, he acts more like a jilted lover than a worried deputy. He attacks Jesus for not seeing what is happening. He attacks Mary for anointing Jesus and then attacks Jesus for letting Mary close to him. When he receives Jesus’ disapproval, he retreats to the back of the disciples group, casting longing looks in Jesus’ direction. . . .