Dig Deeper - A Really, Really Brand New Day!

One of the most interesting characteristics of Godspell is the fact that it was deliberately written with a great amount of flexibility in interpretation and production.  Naturally, every production of any script is unique to an individual time and place - selected by a specific theater, focused through the lens of the director, interpreted through the actors and production team, and viewed by a particular audience.  However, as Stephen Schwartz, the composer and lyricist for Godspell, describes -- Every time Godspell is done, it is basically created anew, because it grows out of the improvisations of the cast and the directorial concept. So it’s always interesting and exciting to see what each group doing the show comes up with.


In Schwartz's notes to directors and actors, he talks a bit about how the original production was created and how he hopes that every production of Godspell retains a sense of that original playful improvisation.  I dropped by a rehearsal the other day and the room was full to bursting with laughter, lively play, and joyous spirit.

If you've heard Godspell associated with words like "clown" or "circus" or "game", those descriptions can be both illuminating and a bit misleading.  Here's a brief excerpt from Schwartz's 1999 notes to help put the light-hearted, playful nature of the show into context...

We used to tell cast members in the original production to imagine that the audience was composed of half adults and half children... The parables had to be made clear and entertaining to each of these groups. Thus the use of both sophisticated verbal humor and broad physical comedy, to appeal to all the age groups, and the reliance on acting out the stories visually...

Next week, I'll share more about how the playful nature of the show also came about due to the influence of Polish theatre director Jerzy Grotowski's groundbreaking book, Towards a Poor Theatre (1968).  See you next week!

Cassandra Proball, Education Director