All three of my kids have been involved in theatre, both as actors and as stage crew, for more than a decade. My younger son (the actor) does 3 or 4 shows a year in high-school and community-theatre productions. So I watched the screener for Jonah: On Stage with a stage-mom’s eye.
Jonah: On Stage is a filmed stage performance, and it definitely provides the best of both worlds: the sweeping wide views afforded to anyone watching a live performance, plus the benefit of close-ups that only a movie can provide. Not even the orchestra seats would let you see this much detail.
The staging was incredible. From the large (and very talented) cast, complete with live animals, to the amazing light and sound effects and the lush scenery, Sight & Sound did not skimp on any detail. Why is staging important? It’s what you see and hear as the story is told. It should complement, not distract from, the story. Sight & Sound gets an A+ in staging from this stage mom!
As I began viewing the movie, I wondered how they’d manage to stage the underwater scenes. I’m not going to give away any trade secrets here, but I do need to let you know that as you watch those, you’re going to feel like you’re at the aquarium, in front of the 30-foot-high glass wall that lets you see all the fish. They had jellyfish in there and everything. It was astounding.
The retelling of the familiar story of the prophet Jonah was funnier than I expected, and it didn’t skimp on the wisdom. The movie portrays Jonah’s struggle to know God’s will and his simultaneous wish to avoid doing what he’s called to do–because it would cost him too much. It’s easy to understand the conflict between knowing something intellectually and trusting it with our hearts.
My favorite scene was a sweet flashback in which a young Jonah wants to be like Moses.
My favorite line: “Love costs so much, and it’s messy.” Yes. It does, and it is. And it’s worth it, as Jonah learns. (That’s not a spoiler, because we all know how this one ends.)
I only live two hours away from Sight & Sound Theatre in Lancaster, PA, but I’ve never been there. Jonah: On Stage definitely showed me what I’ve been missing! Make Tuesday, May 2 a family movie night: bring the kids to see Jonah: On Stage, in select cinemas.
Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS