Hayden Ventrice doesn't take lightly his role as Jesus in Carroll Community College's rendition of "Godspell."
"At first it was a lot to take on," he said.
But the musical, which will begin public performances Thursday, was a great learning process for the Carroll Community College student, he said. Like his character does in the play, he went from a person overwhelmed with the responsibility thrust upon him into someone who is confident and well-versed in his role.
"It is a modern spin on a show that a lot of people like," Ventrice said.
"Godspell," which runs Thursday through Sunday at the college's theater in the Scott Center, and is the culmination of a project that has been brewing in Director Bill Gillett's head for awhile, he said.
The college's Theatre Program coordinator wanted a chance to re-explore "Godspell" and take some creative liberties. The show is based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew and conceived and originally directed by John-Michael Tebelak.
The rehearsal process was much longer than most of the show's at Carroll, having started in June. The performance features scenes of chaos, humor, betrayal and sadness during a series of parables. It also depicts a very human portrayal of Jesus, he said.
"This Jesus is not necessarily as sure of himself," Gillett said. "He has to rise and become the man we want him to be."
The performance features no instrumental accompaniment, requiring the 18-person cast to perform a cappella.
Danny Carbo, who plays Judas and is co-music director of the show, said it took a lot of practice for the cast to perfect its musical performances, but everyone rose to the challenge. Carbo arranged and taught the music.
"It's a great thing to see something you have put on paper come alive," he said.
The show explores Christianity. Carbo believes it is healthy for people to question their religious views.
"If you question your beliefs and still have those beliefs, it make them that much stronger," he said. "Or you then have new beliefs."
A sense of community was developed among the close-knit cast, which goes along with the theme of the play, Ventrice said.
He believes people will be shocked and surprised, but also happy with what all the collaborators have done with the show.
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"I feel like our version is pushing some bounds," he said. "It's a good play that teaches love."