If anyone remembers the “Natwivity” at Christmas (a Nativity, played out on Twitter and Facebook), you will understand about why I am excited about EasterLive (http://www.easterlive2011.com). This time it’s really interactive because it invites people or groups to devise their own passion play that will be presented in the same social networks.
I thought I would have a go, the idea in my mind being to imagine what it would be like if Jesus hadn’t come 2000 years ago, but instead, turned up in the present day. What would the world be like? How would it react to the coming of Christ? The scenario goes something like this:
It’s about 2000 years since Caesar Augustus announced a census. Since then, the Roman Empire has gone from strength to strength growing to be a modern global superpower. Meanwhile the Jewish people continue to be oppressed but have carried on their traditions through the millennia. The Temple Complex in Jerusalem is now almost like a state within a state with its own Religious Police which enforce their modern updated take on Jewish Law (The Romans let them get on with it because it maintains law and order). In the time coming up to Passover, Jerusalem is restless. Obviously the city is busy with Passover-shopping and all the preparations but also because of rumours are rife that Jesus is coming to Jerusalem. Who is this Jesus exactly? He is certainly enigmatic. He or his close followers never give interviews, they shun the media circus preferring to spread his teaching via word of mouth and spontaneous public gatherings but he has a huge popular following. It is said that Jesus can perform amazing miracles like curing people of terminal Cancer, HIV-Aids and even Alzheimer’s. Some of his followers claim he is the one promised by God in the ancient scriptures to free the Jewish people and there is an expectation that he will lead the Jews to freedom from Roman oppression and herald a new golden age. For this reason the Roman authorities are obviously nervous about Jesus but he has never publicly challenged the authority of Rome and goes out of his way to tell people to conform to the Law. The Temple however has definite downer on Jesus since he openly talks with the authority that could only come from God setting himself up like God and therefore guilty of the most heinous blasphemy. The Temple Priesthood know the ancient prophesies and are very afraid of the effect Jesus is having on their people, since he challenges their spiritual authority and religious leadership.
There you have it then, a busy and tense city, powerful people unsettled and Jesus is coming!
Who should be my characters? I want to tell the story from the viewpoint outside the core characters. Maybe a 24 hour news service? Someone working at the Temple Gift Shop maybe? All ideas welcome!