Playing Mary on the stage...

Crosslight Lent Play– Looking Forward: Looking Back

By Sarah Finch

‘Great atmosphere – God showed up’ was one of the comments sent to the Riding Lights Theatre Company office after one of the performances of the passion play, Crosslight. What a privilege to be part of a production that seems to have left its mark in people’s hearts!

When I first read the script I thought it was a play with tremendous potential, this was confirmed when rehearsing with my fellow actors. There were just three actors, playing Peter, John and Mary. As we rehearsed there was an ease and collaboration among us that was wonderful to be part of. The script (by Paul Burbridge and Les Ellison) allowed us all to enter into what it must have been like to live first-hand the Easter story: painful, frustrating, incomprehensible – and finally, glorious! We travelled in a van with our set and a brilliant sound and lighting technician. 

Sarah Finch as Mary in the playDuring our Lenten tour we played 24 towns from Newcastle, to Aberystwyth to Exeter. Each day we would arrive at our venue (Cathedrals, Churches, theatres, town halls) and set up, do sound check, eat, perform, pack the set back into the van and then stay the night with people locally, before moving to our next venue; sharing the driving between us!

This should have been exhausting, but perhaps became we were aware of being part of something very special, it was somehow, in some strange, easy. We were proud of what we were doing. Each day the performance was ‘new’, we never tired of it, the playing of it was our Lenten offering. We were aware that Jesus was among us as we worked, the performance was His. One comment said ‘The presence of Jesus in the performance and in the building was tangible.’

The play is scheduled to tour again next Lent, and we have already been invited to reprise our roles!  

One letter said: ‘It was so moving, so effective in helping us to live through the events of that week in Jerusalem and to feel the emotion of the three characters portrayed – it really brought the Scripture narrative to life. It was very effective in the simple props used – and really clever in the movements used in recounting the events! May God continue to use the group to share Jesus with many, and may God’s Spirit guide and inspire those who produce each play. A real gift from God so wonderfully used with such a giving spirit, and with no reservations. Truly inspiring and such a blessing.’

On a personal level it helped me to live Easter in a different way, from the inside of the story. I was very aware that we, like Peter, fail and fall many times on our journey: but the truth is that God is bigger than our failings, and says to us as He said to Peter ‘Follow me’.

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