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The Bible on Stage: Sight & Sound's Moses

Beth Patch - Senior Producer

Sight & Sound Theatres brings the Bible to life on stage. Now through October 2017, theater-goers can witness Moses part the Red Sea up close and personal in their theatrical performance of Moses in Branson, MO.

Not one to shrink back from tough set challenges, evidenced by past epic productions involving live animals and high seas (Noah and Jonah), this performing arts company also thrills audiences at their stage in Lancaster, PA.

On location in Branson, Sight & Sound's President and CEO Josh Enck shared with CBN.com about Moses, offering a behind-the-scene perspective of their Bible storytelling productions. Below are excerpts from our in-depth interview:

About who Moses is in Sight & Sounds' production...

Josh Enck: The unique thing about the way we bring the Bible to life is we showed flawed characters on that stage. Like the story of Moses, a lot of people's perception is Charlton Heston, beautiful white, perfect hair blowing in the wind, eloquent speaker, a strong flawless man. I love The Ten Commandments and I love Charlton Heston, but that's not the Moses that I read about when we researched the show. I read about a man who was orphaned at age five, who had anger issues, who had a speech impediment, who had an identity crisis at age 40, who ran away in the desert, who had sons that he named things like, "I'm a stranger in a strange land."

Sight and Sound - Moses - Chariot

About finding the balance between biblical accuracy and creative license...

Enck: That line that we ride very closely really comes down to this: everything that we create on that stage that's not found in biblical text is there intentionally to point people towards themes that are already in the work. In other words, what I just shared with you about Moses being a flawed individual, someone who we can relate with - that's not creative, that's not made up; that's truthful. It's in the Bible. Now, how can we create context around that, that may not be in the Bible to help showcase it, to magnify it? Rather than saying, 'That was so dead-on to the biblical account down to the last piece of straw on the stage', they're saying, 'I can't believe that I can relate to a man like Moses'. And that's what our heart is, is to point people towards Truth through the power of story.

Sight and Sound - Moses - Burning Bush

About why people need to know these Bible stories...

Enck: We live in a generation where a lot of young parents will not go to church or send their kids to church. But, they'll drop their kids off at Vacation Bible School because they want their kids to be exposed to safe moral content. We find a lot of people coming to Sight & Sound as an investment in their family. They say, 'We want this to be part of that spiritual investment in our family'. Well, we want to take it a step further. We want not only for it to be an investment, for this to be a lifelong memory that they can perhaps build their lives around that they'll never forget.

About attracting celebrity talent to star in their productions...

Enck: We're very careful how we showcase our talent. We don't do a curtain call. We don't want to bring attention to the star of the show. Even things like this [interview] we're careful about. This is not a one-man or two-man show. This is 600 people that make this happen. So we've hesitated to bring in a cutting-edge artist or a name for commercial reasons. 'They're competent? Definitely, let's talk!' But to use them as a vessel or vehicle to sell more tickets isn't necessarily our angle.

The advantage we have here in Sight & Sound is we do everything in house, under one roof. So I know what it's like for Chris Sherk in the shop to be working with a chainsaw and be covered with film from head to toe, and how many hours it took him to create all those bricks for the brick factory scene. I know how long it took the animal department to train that rat to crawl up that guy's arm and work. So who am I to stand on that stage and say, 'look what we have done, look what I have done?' As soon as one of us steps down and says 'look at me', then we lost our focus on our mission. What we want to do is we want everybody to say not look at me, but look at Him. We want to reflect what God has done, not what man has done.

Sight and Sound - Moses - Let My People Go

About the heart of the story of Moses...

Enck: It's so much more of a story than just the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. It's about the seas parting in our own lives. It's about when God calls Moses at that low point in his life and God says, 'Why are you afraid?' And Moses says, 'Because you know who I am and what I've done.' And God says, 'I do know you, and I want you to know me.' It's so much about identity with Him, with God.

About Enck's favorite scene in Moses...

Enck: My favorite scene in the show is the Passover scene. That's a scene where the plagues have now occurred, all of them except for the one of the death of the firstborn son in Egypt. When we lifted that scripture directly from the pages and had God's voice read what the first Passover was, in this setting where the Hebrews are in their very humble homes all around you, all immersed; and you see the Passover lambs going into each home and instructions being told, and they're singing the "Shema Yisrael", which is a song that is thousands of years old. It's such a holy and reverent piece of history. We didn't write a word to it. There wasn't a smart scriptwriter penciling that in. That was the Word of God coming out purely. And so when that happens and it all comes together, I hope that you guys are as moved by that as I am. It's my favorite scene we've ever done in any Sight & Sound show. I'm not alone in that either.

Check out scenes from Sight & Sound's Lancaster production of Moses

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