From April 24 to 26, the stage of the Hercules Theater on Ramstein, normally the venue for motion pictures and commander’s calls, was transformed into an unkempt urban lot, complete with an 8-foot fence, strewn newspaper, discarded clothing and a motley, rag-tag band of energetic young people dressed as clowns – “hippie clowns” to be precise.
Leading the bunch was Airman 1st Class Ben Kingland, 435th Security Forces Squadron, in the role of Jesus, sporting a blue “Superman” T-shirt, rainbow suspenders, bejeweled tennis shoes and velour maroon pants with Technicolor stripes. His disciples wore an eye-dazzling assortment of plaid, tie-dye, stripes and mismatched colors. Behind the fence, a live band belted out uplifting melodies, grinding guitar solos, gentle ballads and haunting anthems. Just what in the name of heaven was going on? “Godspell,” of course!
“Godspell”, originally performed off-Broadway in New York’s Cherry Lane Theater, is a vaudevillian retelling of the Gospel according to St. Matthew through pantomime, slapstick humor, song and dance. Airman Kingland,who rehearsed the lead role for only a few months after his predecessor had a short-notice PCS, led his hippie-clown disciples in acting out the parables Jesus used to teach his followers. The three-day run at the Hercules was the culmination of 10 months of planning and hard work by an ecumenical production cast and crew drawn from various 435th ABW Chapel worship communities.
“Godspell” was truly a labor of love and a wonderful ministry for the entire chapel community,” said “Godspell” Project Officer Maj. Jim Trachier, 435th Communications Squadron deputy commander. “We had sound technicians and musicians from the Contemporary Service; our music director, drummer, and guitarists came from the Chapel’s Holy Family Catholic Community; and our young cast and stagecrew were composed mostly of high school students, first-term Airmen, and young adults representing almost every 435th ABW Chapel service.”
Airman Kingland and the rest of the cast captivated the more than 800 people, who took in the three performances.
“The cast, crew and musicians were outstanding!” said Maj. Ted De Guzman from 3rd Air Force’s Special Programs Division.
Although the final strains of music have faded and the Hercules stage no longer represents a gritty cityscape, the performance made a lasting impression on the hearts of the cast, crew and audience members alike.
“It was a very moving performance (and) a great show for our community,”said Major De Guzman.
(Courtesy of 435th ABW Chapel)