With a packed house, the performance of “Jesus Moment,” presented by the Student Experimental Theatre, offered a comedic-relief in regards to the country’s politics after the 2016 election.
“Jesus Moment” was written by Christina Nieves and was presented by the S.E.T. group on Nov. 7. The performance was directed by Itzel Ayala, ’18, and featured Aleäa Rae, ’18, Kelsey Terhune-Cotter, ’18, and Bolan G Marshall-Hallmark, ’19.
The script featured a conversation between God, played by Marshall-Hallmark, Jesus, played by Rae and the Holy Spirit, played by Terhune-Cotter. The conversation was on the election of November 2016 between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The hilarious and thought-provoking performance focused on the comedic-relief that the skit gave to the political atmosphere of the country.
The performance follows the election night as the votes quickly turn towards Trump’s victory and Jesus’ emotional reaction to how the people of the U.S. voted. Jesus’ following conversation with God is him asking why God let this happen and if this was part of his plan while the Holy Spirit sasses them both from the background with its bowl of ‘Holy O’s’. The skit brings to the conversation all the problems of the 2016 election, while being extremely entertaining with pop culture references like Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar.
Throughout the skit, Jesus argues for a hopeful future even after Trump’s victory, while the Holy Spirit contrasts his’ argument with the pessimistic side of things. In the end, as God switches TV channels, he talks on how he really has no clue on what happens next.
The idea of God not knowing what happens next spoke to an underlying theme in the script: It conveyed a sense of doubt surrounding authority figures, mainly an authority figure not knowing what they are doing and not knowing what happens next. The parallels between God in the script and Trump in the present spoke volumes to the audience and was one of the key points of the conversation which followed the show.
After the performance, Ayala and Arianna O’Connell, ’18, opened a short conversation on the politics and the personal experiences on the election of last year, where the cast and audience discussed their reactions.
Ayala was the one to bring the script to Allegheny after seeing it herself over the summer. She shared her own personal experience with the election along with the others. Ayala talked about the effects Trump’s election had on her and her hometown ,which bordered Mexico in California, and the feelings of hopelessness and doubt she felt afterwards.
“The piece gave me hope,” Ayala said.
Marshall-Hallmark spoke on his own experience with the 2016 election and how he used a part of it in his performance of God in the satire. Marshall-Hallmark said that while waiting for the results, he fell asleep and ended up finding out the winner of the election in the morning.
“I literally woke up to a new president,” Marshall-Hallmark said.
Besides the performers, audience members also chimed in with their own experiences and reactions to last year’s election.
One of the audience members, Nia Burnette, ‘18, shared her personal experience at Allegheny and her hometown in regards to the election, speaking to the feelings of how she and others felt ‘disposable’ afterwards. She talked about the differences of before and after that affected her and her friends, mentioning how she had to hold herself differently because of the fear brought on by the election. Burnette also mentioned the reaction of her religious community and how they excused Trump’s actions and behaviors because he was a God-fearing man.
“It was ugly. I was really disappointed in my community,” Burnette said.
The skit brought out questions, concerns and personal experiences of the past election that Ayala and O’Connell were hoping to shed light on and discuss exactly a year after the election.
“This wouldn’t have worked any other time than now,” Ayala said.
The script explored and developed themes that produced an important conversation between the performers and audience on the issues surrounding the election.
“A year later we’re still having conversations about it and that’s powerful,” O’Connell said.
“Jesus Moment” inspires a deep political conversation while maintaining a humorous tone, making the performance highly amusing and important at this time of year. Jesus and the otherstruly get their political moment in this performance.