From baby Jesus to Noah (via God)
‘You’re going to be playing Noah this year.’ ‘Oh, wow’, I thought to myself ‘that’ll be fun – playing with all the animals, building an ark, avoiding a flood, seeing a rainbow and dealing with a very argumentative wife’ – as you do!
The Chester Mystery Plays present you with amazing opportunities; to be part of something so central to the city’s cultural heritage, to speak words written over 700 years ago in the place they were written, to be part of one of the biggest community events in the city and most importantly of all, to have fun!
And this isn’t the first time I’ve been in the plays – over the years, I’ve played Herod (twice), Pilate (as an American general), Lucifer and God (twice), most recently in 2013. And that’s quite worrying, given that we perform the plays every 5 years – mind you, my first appearance was as Baby Jesus in the crib.
I have actually played Noah before, in one of the open air presentations in the amphitheatre but this will be the first time in the main production and rehearsals are now in full swing; we’re all aware that it’s serious but that doesn’t stop us laughing – a lot!
Personally, I love rehearsals since it gives the opportunity to explore and really get under the skin of the character. And I love the way in which everyone comes together to construct the play – the writer, musicians, stage management, designers, actors, and finally the audience - all combining to create the final presentation.
Theatre is the most extraordinarily collaborative undertaking and it’s a wonderful experience to be part of it – and hopefully, audiences will enjoy all the hard work.
One of the hallmarks of the Chester presentation is that each cycle is different; this year we’ve got a new script by Deborah McAndrew, a new set, new music by Matt Baker and new people in the cast. And that’s is what keeps it so interesting – although the plays are medieval, they’re always contemporary and always changing.