Heading into ‘Holy Week’ in Christianity that begins on Palm Sunday, the ‘Stations of the Cross’, particularly in Catholic devotion are 14 steps that commemorates Jesus Christ’s last day on Earth as a man.
The 14 devotions, or stations, focus on specific events of His last day, beginning with His condemnation. The stations are commonly used as a mini pilgrimage as the individual moves from station to station. At each station, the individual recalls and meditates on a specific event from Christ’s last day.
At St. Joseph’s Elementary School in Port Elgin (Saugeen Shores), the ‘Stations of the Cross’ once again returns following a Covid hiatus.
The performance is dramatically presented in a unique silhouetted form. The audience, in complete darkness, watches as the silhouettes, performed on-stage by students, portray through the particularly moving method, the 14 steps in the Station of the Cross.
Under the direction of Lucie Desbiens and teacher, Richard Kennedy, the students take the audience through the last days of Christ.
Desbiens said that it gives the students not only a more in-depth understanding of the ‘Stations of the Cross’ but also teaches, from a technical aspect, what goes on behind the scenes and how involved it is to create and perform a production.
“We are so fortunate this year to have M. René Audet handle the technical side of things such as the music, through his computer knowledge that eliminated the need for considerable equipment that we have used in the past,” said Desbiens. The music, the Planets by Gustav Holst and Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Vaughan Williams added to the drama of the production and were perfectly in sync with the action on stage.
Although the cast number this year was considerably fewer than in the past, Desbiens added that the students were “… completely committed. They knew that they had to be there for every rehearsal as each person played a key role.”
Cast: Izaiah Hewitt (Jesus); Sarah Fairhall (Mary); Elijah Wilke (Pilate); Neil Capstick & Adam Heenan(Soldiers); Auzriel Grist Aleigha Eagleson & Kaitlyn Wild (Women of Jerusalem); Xavier Dubois (Simon); KaitlynWild (Veronica); Jacob, |Lobaton, Christine Mba, Xavier Dubois, Aleigha Eagleson, KaitlynWild & Auzriel Grist (the Crowd); Elijah Wilke (the Rock)
She also said that younger students had the chance to go backstage and see first-hand how the affects were achieved. “To see the performance can be upsetting until they understand what is actually happening and how the special effects are really an illusion.”
“This is a production where the entire school comes together,” says Desbiens. “All the staff and students gave up their gym time and we had the help of Mr. Laurenson with his keys and tools, Mrs. Annemarie Kinsmen who sewed the wall of sheets that became the screen and Mr. Walsh for his ongoing support.”
The production is open to the public tonight, March 23rd, at 7:00 p.m. with a matinee performance on Friday, March 24th at 2:00 p.m.
In the lead-up to Easter, this is a production that is moving and should not be missed.