November 12, 2009
JEREMY SHEFFER, Community Ensemble Participant
I hate Christmas. Having been brought up as a Jew and having developed increasingly agnostic tendencies, Christmas has become for me associated with hypocrisy and alienation. As I don’t do my own festivals anymore it would be hypocritical of me to celebrate anyone else’s and it has become a time when I always feel somewhat of an outsider. Moreover the story of Jesus even has some uncomfortable associations with my own family history and that of the Jewish population, as my presence in this country is due to the need to escape persecution in its various forms. As my Grandfather used to say, Jesus was just another nice Jewish boy persecuted for his beliefs.
My initial interest in getting involved with this production was therefore an entirely artistic one. I was fascinated by the concept of creating theatrical elements to a musical piece that I was admittedly unfamiliar with and excited by the chance to experience working on the Coliseum stage and watching Deborah Warner and her team at work. This is still true but my involvement has also affected me in a very personal way. This is a tremendously uplifting piece of music and in rehearsing for this production the sense of community generated by the theatrical elements has made me feel rather less the outsider. We are an ensemble of 44 very different individuals, all unique and yet all part of a greater whole, chosen as a representation of the mixed community in which we live and working as one to help create something beautiful.
Maybe there is a lesson somewhere there?