Thursday, April 28, 2011

Men in Dresses: The Easter Addition

 It's that time of year again. Men dig out their moth-eaten robes and grow out their beards, moms organize carpooling, and children are forced to frolic around in scrappy dresses. You guessed it. It's Easter

On Good Friday, Average Saturday (my official name for the ignored day between Friday and Easter), and Easter Sunday, churches countrywide re-enact the Resurrection Story and share the good news with the world. Oh, and unofficially compete with other churches to become the best Easter performance in the local tri-state area. For the few days before, during, and after each church's performance are ironicly hellish. 24-7 church members are running about and trying to make their performance as flawless as possible for the big day(s). 

  Not all is stress and rush, however. Church members have a variety of roles to choose from. Here are the classics:

A Townspeople
This is the simplest of the lot. All you do is wear a bathrobe and fasten a dishcloth to your head with a scrap of fabric. Voila! You are a townsperson. The role requires you to have some serious mental issues, including but not limited to bi-polar disorders, restless feet syndrome, and multiple personalities. You will dance the grapevine repeatedly, enthusiastically praise the coming of the messiah, oooo and aaaaahhhh at everything, and then spit insults at the people being crucified.

A Disciple
Ah, one of the chosen followers. You don't have to do too much. You attend feasts with Jesus, fall asleep when you aren't supposed to, and run around graveyards looking for the risen King of Kings. Their are a few particular disciple roles, however. You could be Peter, the man who denied Jesus 3 times and had thing about fowl. Or Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus for some dough and was mentioned as being a bad kisser. That, or you will probably end up being the poor man who is forced to wear a bubblegum-colored robe. It doesn't matter what caliber a thespian you are, everyone will remember you as "that guy in a pink dress". 

A Demon
Your lines consist of "Hssssssss," "Rasssppppp," and occasional screams of fear/terror/pain. You will be given a black unisex, one-size-fits-all robe and hood that isn't particularly attractive. Black facepaint (red if you're fashion forward) will probably be smeared on your face. This is a physically taxing role. To look demonic you must follow these simple instructions:
1.Apply costume. 
2.Cackle and hiss like a clogged drain. 
3.Pretend you are a T-Rex with itty-bitty arms. 
4.Go down in a squat then spasm and groan like you pulled a muscle in your back. Make that several muscles.
5.Dart side to side, while still crouching, just as if someone was throwing fruit at you and you are trying to avoid it.
6.Run towards the Devil onstage like he's the last donut in the box. Suddenly develop a limp.
7.You are a demon!

An Angel
Being an angel is just a combination of imitating my brother and wearing white before Labor Day; It requires being around or over 6ft. and never showing emotion on your face. You will be the quiet, strong warrior that doesn't lash out at the little demon's taunting but instead will stand and take it. Like a man. In a white dress. With flowing sleeves. 

A Lunatic
If you can act as if you were stung by bees, hadn't taken a bath in a year, and were fleeing for your life all at once than you, yes you, can be a demon-possessed person. Bonus points if you have a pet pig.

You are the "Bad Guy". You capture Jesus, crucify him, and wear rugs over your dresses. Oh, and you have to cackle in melo-dramatic mad scientist laughter repeatedly. 

The Devil
Nobody want to get this role. You either dress as the grim reaper or a businessman. You will be given a monoluge and are the newest spokesperson for cough drops. You also have to do the cliche bad guy laugh. Like, a lot. Pretty much every time anything remotely sinister happens. 
Oh, so you're THAT guy. Every time the church puts on a production that requires a Jesus role, they call you. Your nickname is Lil' Jeez. You have long hair and an full beard year round. Instead of swimsuit season you hit the treadmill to prepare for Easter Season when you will parade before the entire church in a biblical depends. On the plus side, your role is the Son of God, you perform miracles galore, and you come back from the dead. Sweet.

While there are several other roles to be filled in an Easter Performance, these were the highlights for me. For better or for cheesiest, I did have a few issues about some of the performances I saw this year. One was the lack of historical accuracy. In one of the shows we saw there was only Jesus on the cross, they completely cut out the other 2 sinners. At another performance I noticed that the eye candy that had been promised paradise last year was replaced by a pot-bellied man who was struggling to keep his dentures in. (Just to be clear, that complaint had nothing to do with historical innacuracy. Unless the Bible says something different if you look back in the original Hebrew.)

In closing, i'd just like to say I mean no disrespect to God or the resilient people who perform the legendary tale. I fully and whole-heartily believe the Easter story and that Jesus really was the Son of God and rose again after 3 days. One of the reasons why I find it easy to poke fun of the performances is because i've participated in them, have friends in them, and have seen hundreds. The story of Easter and why we celebrate it is important and makes people remember what we tend to ignore the rest of the year. But really, no matter how serious the subject matter, who can't crack a smile when they see their pastor in a manly little blue number?

May All Your Bunnies Be Chocolate,
-Hannah Hoo

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