The Dormston Mill Theatre, Sedgley – 2003
The Inspiration for Godspell arose when John-Michael Tebelak was required to direct a production of a classic or period piece for his thesis when he was undertaking a Master of Fine Arts degree at Carnegie Melton University. He asked to be allowed to write his own play for this exercise, this became musical based on the Gospel according to St. Matthew.
It was written at the time of the Vietnam War, with its accompanying “Generation Gap”, with mistrust generally between Americans of difference ages, races and political philosophies. Consequently the shows message of community building resonated for audiences and is as relevant now as it was then. The show opened off-Broadway on May 17, 1971.
Godspell begins in darkness with a single voice which reminds of creation and mans place in it. This darkness is then broken by the voices and personalities of a number of philosophers through the afes who each expound their own theory but are unable to agree to the others point of view. Into the resulting chaos comes John the Baptist urging people to prepare for the coming of the Lord. Suddenly the world stops looking bleak and colourless as people realise that there is a common goal and purpose guided by the charismatic figure of Jesus.
Act One is concerned with how Jesus unites the group through stories and parables which they can relate to themselves; while Act Two portrays the last few days of his earthly life. The story ends as it begins but with new hope, greater love and unity overriding adversity.
Jesus – Tim Brown
John/Judas – Adam Bowles
Herb – Martin Milnes
Lamar – Christopher Ingley
Jeffrey – Jennie Hill
Gilmer – Chris Sandhu
Joanne – Eileen Wooley
Peggy – Kim Lavender
Sonia – Emma Davis
Robin – Claire Fletcher
Socrates – Chad Horton
Thomas Aquinas – Martin Milnes
Martin Luther – Katherine Hall
Leonardo da Vinci – Claire Fletcher
Gibbon – Jennie Hill
Frederic Nietzsch – Robert Leek, Geoff Bird
Jean Paul Sartre – Anita Hughes
Buckminster Fuller – Kirsty Somers
Chorus and Dancers:
Producer – Graham Quinn
Musical Director – Peter Smith
Choreographer – Gaynor Whitehouse