Renaissance painters like Caravaggio depicted religious scenes in chiaroscuro: a stark contrast between dark and light.
Justin Poole, main performer and adapter of theatrical work for “The Gospel Project: A Theatrical Journey Through the Life of Jesus Christ,” will light his show in the same intense and dramatic style.
Two performances of “The Gospel Project,” a three-act adaptation of the life of Jesus Christ beginning at Christ’s baptism and ending with the resurrection, will take place this weekend at Arts Incarnate, an outreach program of the Church of the Incarnation on North Liberty Street in Harrisonburg. Shows begin Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with masks required.
Poole, theater program director and associate professor of theater at Eastern Mennonite University, adapted the text for the play from the four Gospels and performs all of the spoken roles in the two-person touring play, which was first performed at Asbury United Methodist Church in 2016.
Poole is accompanied by Perry Blosser, a local freelance and church musician who majored in music and Bible, religion and theology at EMU. Blosser who will play a mandolin and different folk percussion instruments, including a djembe.
“The folky-ness is something new to this performance,” Blosser said.
The performance is semi-improvised, but the duo rehearsed the broad strokes of the performance several times. Poole said the Church of the Incarnation is a more intimate venue than previous iterations of the show.
“Perry adds a totally new dimension,” Poole said. “The inclusion of the folk instruments I think add sophistication to the show.”
While the spoken parts of the play don’t stray far from the texts of the Gospels, Poole said the performance is done in modern clothing and becomes more engrossing as the performance goes on.
Lindi Jenkins, director for music and the arts for Church of the Incarnation, connected with Blosser for this production.
“[Arts Incarnate brings] in art and artists to enhance the spiritual life of our community,” Jenkins said. “We seek to present beauty, truth and justice through the arts.”
The event is free and open to the public, and registration is requested at artsincarnate.com. Free tickets are also available at the door before the show.