Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Micro-Collaborative Monologue

Sometimes the best collaboration takes place between just two people. I wrote and acted out the following monologue, but what really gave it shape was the directing by Elana McKernan. As we worked together to tell to the story of Pontius Pilate we inspired and feed-off one another; both gained an appreciation for the biblical figure that we otherwise would have never had. When I performed the monologue, I brought this experience to it. However, for the vast majority of the congregation, I feel this sermon was simply a passive event created by the professional entertainer pastor. Perhaps if there were a series of such monologues created by different pockets of micro-collaboration, the congregation would see each performance as coming out of the community as a whole, and hence, in some small way, as coming out of each member individually.


Landon said...

I enjoyed hearing the monologue, perhaps in part from not hearing your voice in a while, and I do like hearing you deliver theatrical stories.

I was struck by a few things. I liked your portrayal of the Romans. I thought you had a very derogatory and finger-pointing portrayal of the Jews.I am pretty sure you meant for the pettiness and rigid dogma of the Jews of that particular time and place to be a negative example for everyone, but it didn't necessarily come off that way. I thought you made an interesting point about Jesus looking past the dogma and caring more about helping people.

Ben Colahan said...

Ya, writing from Pilate's perspective is tricky because Roman culture as a whole was derogatory towards Jews and all other barbarians--expressing these attitudes is VERY problematic today. I tried to focus most of the negativity for killing Jesus on the religious elite of the day (which, if you examine the Gospel of John, is how the text uses the term "Jews"). But with all the negativity I was also trying to communicate the arrogance and intolerance of Roman imperialism, which is contrasted by Christ's model of power.

Ben Colahan said...

Perhaps I should be more explicit.

While I certainly hope that people examine their own lives for pettiness and rigid dogma, my intention was not for Pilate's perception of Judaism to stand in for all people. Instead my hope is that people form an emotional bond with Pilate at the beginning of the monologue. They do this even though Pilate is arrogant, racist, and cruel. However, when Pilate realizes his true powerlessness and rejects his previous lifestyle, because of the emotional bond, the audience can share in Pilate's transformation and desire to follow a Jew who is completely counter to our culture. Jesus looks beyond Jewish dogma, but it is ultimately Roman dogma that I hope to challenge in this monologue.

Yes, Pilate is anti-semitic. This is because of his core misunderstanding of truth and power. It is what Jesus must change.