Earlier this month on the way back from a commercial shoot in Syracuse, NY, I realized had an extra day to kill before my next gig in North Carolina. I decided to stop in Lancaster, PA and view a play at the Sight and Sound theater.
The Sight and Sound Theater is a theater company that specializes in elaborate stage plays of Biblical stories. Elaborate is probably the wrong word choice. These plays are massive productions!
I’ve only seen one of these before. As a child I saw “Abraham and Sarah” with my family. I don’t remember much of it, but I do remember being there. Now that I am older and have an appreciation for the arts I thought it a good time to see another spectacle in Lancaster. This time I watched Moses.
I have to admit, I am a Broadway geek. My mother is firstly to blame as she made me and my brother watch pretty much every Rogers and Hammerstein musical ever made…countless times over. Right under my mother, I am sure Disney is second. I remember watching “The Little Mermaid” in the theaters, followed by every other Disney musical that ever came next.
So needless to say I was pretty excited to see “Moses”.
There wasn’t much information about the show available. “In order to give Glory to God”, The Sight and Sound Theater purposely does not publish the names of the cast and crew. However, thanks to a pimple-faced, sugarcoated almond vendor, I was able to learn that each production ranges in costs of 2-10 million dollars.
The best part about that number is that you can tell.
“Moses”, surprisingly enough, tells the story of Moses from the time of his birth to the giving of the Ten Commandments. It uses incredibly high-tech and giant set pieces. The stage changes from scene to scene as giant rocks rotate and move across the stage giving the viewers the illusion of travelling through the desert. The aisles are constant danger zones as sudden bursts of real-life sheep dart past you and run up the stage, then exit towards stage left! Birds fly to designated spots. Each set is more magnificent than the last-from the Egyptian palace, to the slums of the Israelite slaves.
The story is told through a range of special effects and breath-taking lighting.
The set production alone is worth every penny.
That’s a good thing… because unfortunately; everything else fell kind of flat.
The songs were forgotten before they were finished.
The acting was cheesy and the jokes were not really that funny.
But none of that mattered.
Sight and Sound can best be described as a three-hour long visit to an amusement park. Sure, the actors and jokes are corny…but you’re in a different world! You’re not just simply watching a show, you are a part of it. Sure, like most amusement parks there are times where you’re sitting through a long line, trying to fight off boredom. But then the roller coaster begins and it’s all worth it.
If I had any serious complaints it would be the forced ending with a guy dressed like Jesus sitting around a group of children, waving as the Moses cast stands around him in worship. Did this really have to be here? No. It didn’t. There are tons of ways to incorporate Christ throughout the story of Moses without tagging him on at the end just so you can say you did. It’s another example of an all too common attempt to make art evangelistic, as opposed to letting art be art and glorifying Christ throughout. And like always, it comes across as woefully non-creative.
Even with all the flaws, it’s an experience worth watching. I intend on watching other plays by Sight and Sound in the future as they become available. You should too.
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