I was settling into my role, and into my place in the main cast. So for a few weeks, I hung out in the choir room, learning their parts. They represented "the crowd", always changing with the mood, looking for a miracle, but never for a Saviour. I praised Hosanna! with them as He entered the courtyard, I sang "Crucify Him! We have no king but Caesar!" at the top of my lungs before Pilate. My part in the group, however, faded out after the crucifixion scene. I wasn't allowed to rejoice in His coming. During rehearsals, I sang under my breath, and, in the performances, I hid in the back of the room, singing softly standing behind a few choir members who "hid me".
The Soldiers' group tried "adopting me", I think to make my part more bearable. One guy, Sam, was one of the soldiers that pushed Jesus down the aisle by me in the crucifixion scene. Sam was a pretty cool guy, and, for whatever reason, just looked like a Roman soldier. He always gave me this impression that he was "one big bad dude that wasn't going to EVER worship that Jesus-nut."
When we set places for that scene, Director John hollered "Chara, get over there, but stand on your own. Everyone will recognize you by now as a Jew. You can't give in when they walk by. Be strong, and give them the same heck you tried giving Peter in scene rehearsal. THIS is where I need you to be aggressive & strong." A few others warned me, "Jennifer, whatever you do, in performance, DO NOT look at Jesus' face. Just don't do it. If your faith is anything true to you, don't look. It's impossible to see His face and still act like you don't believe."
Sam and I got in a routine. A few of the other soldiers would gently "push" me out of the way as they forced Jesus from the back to the stage. Sam never pushed, he never made contact, but his words were something else. They weren't scripted, either. Sam pushed Jesus on by, and always said to me,
"Well, what do you think of your King now?!"
I tried so hard. I was pretty good in rehearsals. I really was. But it was absolutely impossible in performance. The cast crew was right - don't look. I couldn't help it. I saw that face, Jesus dragging the cross top beam down the aisle. He was always near His knees as He went by me, looking up. I always looked at Him, and shortly after He went by, I would look at someone in the audience, and honestly say, "I didn't mean for Him to die. I really didn't. I wanted Him gone, and wanted Him to quit pretending to save me, but I didn't mean for Him to die. Maybe He's just a prophet, but He doesn't need to die."
Unfortunately, that wasn't ever how it worked out. The storm came, the thunder shook the room, and I, along with the rest of the crowd, ran from the room screaming. I was intentionally one of the last "Greens" to leave the room, again, representing a strong-willed Jewish non-believer. I was supposed to "make sure it was all real."