Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 2, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with 3 comments

A cross to bear


We all have our crosses to bear.

This is a familiar refrain.

What is your cross? Is it depression? Anxiety? Do you have poor health or dysfunction in your family? Do you suffer from poverty or neglect or have you recently lost your job?

The recent staging of “Everyone’s Way of the Cross” at St.Ninian’s Cathedral during Holy Week reflected upon the ancient story well known to Christians but it was much more than that. It was an opportunity for people of many faith communities in Antigonish to come together to examine the cross of Christ and our own struggles.

Clarence Enzler’s script has been cleverly adapted to appeal to a modern day audience. In 1985, Rev. Donald MacGillivray, along with well-known comedian Bette MacDonald and her sister, Donna collaborated to launch the play in several churches in Cape Breton. Taking the production to a large facility like St.Ninian’s was a calculated risk well worth taking.

The Stations of the Cross mark the journey that Jesus took through the streets of Jerusalem after he was condemned to death. The dramatic entrance of Jesus, played by Nat Tecle, set the tone for the show. The music, skillfully choreographed by St. Ninian choir director Emery van de Wiel, was powerful and moving. Each station of the cross was matched with a piece of music that dovetailed beautifully with what was being acted out.

The large cast moved seamlessly and effortlessly around the vast expanse of the cathedral using the space to maximum efficiency.

While the story of the crucifixion and death of Jesus stayed on script, the use of two narrators brought historical and contemporary context to the play. Sheumais Macleod is the voice of Christ (Christ Speaks). Erin Brocklehurst (I Reply) put a modern interpretation to Christ’s words bringing relevance to events that unfolded over 2,000 years ago.

The staging of a production like this in such a large facility posed many challenges but directors Carol Ann MacKenzie and Rev. Donald MacGillivray pulled it off magnificently. Starting the play after dark was intentional.  When the cathedral lights were turned off, with the audience bathed in blackness, the mood was set instantaneously. Chris dela Cruz’s lighting schemes were brilliant using soft purples and pinks which created a solemn, subdued ambience.

The introduction of each station by well-known thespian Phillip Cooper was masterful. His deep bass voice echoed throughout the church and at times sounded ominous like the rumbling of thunder, a precursor to the execution of Christ.

We live in a complicated world. Religion has always been a topic fraught with differing and often conflicting opinions. What is one to make of the stage production of “Everyman’s Way of the Cross.”?

Many people attended because they are stalwart theatre goers. Others went because they are Christian and the Stations epitomize everything they believe in. And a handful went just out of curiosity. There is little doubt that everyone who saw the show came away with something to call their own.

Indeed, we all have our crosses to bear. None of us will escape pain and suffering during our lives. How we deal with adversity is the nub of the thing.

At the end of the day, we are all called upon to help those whose crosses are too heavy to carry alone.



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