Acting Up

I may not seem like it, but I enjoy watching live theater and musicals. My wife and I, and sometimes our daughter, will attend one of the great selections of shows playing at Diamond Head Theatre, Manoa Valley Theatre and some of the smaller venues at colleges and high schools. Admittedly, it beats most of the stuff playing on the tube, and there’s nothing like live acting.

Recently my wife and I saw Godspell 2012 at Manoa Valley Theatre. It’s an updated version of the original, one of the off-Broadway and Broadway successes of all time. It’s basically a musical based on Jesus and his Disciples, up to the time of his crucifixion. While the subject matter sounds heavy, it’s an entertaining and often comical telling, leading to a powerful finale.

The updated version incorporates smartphone texting, modern references and even some Gangnam Style dance moves. Spoiler alert! They also pull up audience volunteers on stage. I hate that, for the only time I’ll volunteer to go up on stage is to assist with magic tricks. But the clown magicians never pick me, they always go for the little kids. Anyway, I was worried because I was sitting in one of the front rows in an aisle seat. The first audience member selected was a kid. Then later, a middle-aged guy who looked like an actor. I somewhat felt relief, thinking that was the extent of audience participation. Just then several of the actors rushed off stage and pulled me out of the audience.

They wouldn’t let me refuse, so I reluctantly went up on stage. I was to play Lazarus, from the Gospel of Matthew. Luckily, they gave me cue cards, which only added to the humor of my time on stage. It was pretty nerve-wracking, but I managed to get through it. During intermission, my wife and I went to the refreshment bar for some wine.

A couple standing in front of us turned around and the man said to me, “Wow, that was some great acting you did on stage. I thought maybe you were a plant in the audience.” My wife decided to throw in her two cents: “Acting? He was Lazarus. He just had to play dead.”

I guess I shouldn’t be expecting a Tony Award nomination. I just hope they weren’t type-casting.