Chicago's the greatest

Chicago's the greatest

Friday, February 3, 2012

Big Jesus, little jon, tuba player, fake blood guy

Big Jesus, little jon, tuba player, fake blood guy
By Jon Slone

Growing up, I had the honor of portraying our Lord and Savior in a great number of overgenerous productions. In four or five different churches, spanning two states, ranging from 1988 to 2005, I had the indescribably wonderful opportunity to pretend to be Jesus.

And it was awesome!

Of course, it was always the most challenging of roles, let’s not forget that.

Christ was, is, and will always be, perfect! In other words, there’s just no bouncing back from flubbing a line whilst expatiating the B-attitudes, or worse, forgetting a speech altogether and just standing there in a white robe looking like Helen Keller at a pep rally.

Not cool.

Mostly, my fondest memories come from the times spent at Greystone Baptist Church, where I played Jesus in about five or six different productions from 1994 to 2002.

On one such outing, maybe 1996, something almost catastrophic happened. Most assuredly it was hilarious.

Here is what transpired.

When we did these Jesus productions, they were always rendered, huge, epic if you will. Go big or go home right. That means I actually carried a life-sized cross down the aisles and up a manufactured hill. With gusto, I was whipped in more ways than can be recounted. I was kicked and beaten by these Greek dudes that were 6’4”, 6’5” and 6’6” respectively. They had to be that big because I was 6’5” and 215 pounds. If they had procured men of average stature to wail on me and whatnot, it would have appeared as if The Incredible Hulk was getting his butt handed to him by a bunch of Herve Villechaize’s.

Not cool.

Not only did they bludgeon me to within an inch of my 24 years, they also pretended to nail me to the cross while I was straddled atop the splintery wood. When that fun stuff was done they would pick me up, cross and all, and drop me in this makeshift hole which was about two and a half feet deep. Like I said earlier, we didn’t play around!

So here was the problem.

Every time we practiced this cross nailing scene, we did so under bright gymnasium lighting and without any red accoutrements.


The first night of the performance, the Roman soldiers are up there fake-nailing me to the tree (What I’m actually doing is clutching two spikes). Only this time, this one ambitious combatant is squirting my hands profusely with all of this fake blood.

Not cool.

Now, my once was sure-grip is more like a goopy, squishy and slippery jumble! Worse still, its pitch black all around us. So when they go to pick me up, these numbskulls can’t find the darn hole!

Not cool.

Picture the Three Stooges here.

So there I am holding on for dear life while my cross is pitching violently like that little tug boat in the movie, The Perfect Storm! And adhering to those spikes, my only foot-hold as it were, are like trying to grasp hold of wet water balloons! Fake blood was oozing everywhere!

So now I’m thinking: I’m okay as long as the Romans keep me and the cross in a less than vertical position. But they didn’t! In all of their nervous and sweaty consternation they had started to lean me to the fore!

Not cool.

And I was thinking: Man, Sure as I’m standing here, I’m going to fall right off this thing! The girl below me who was playing my Mother had eyes the size of dinner plates. She was like, If Jon falls on me I’m pretty sure I’m going to die.
With each struggling second I was entertaining a host of negative suppositions. Things like: Even the people who don’t go to church regularly know that Christ didn’t fall off the cross!

I wasn’t going to fool anyone!

Then my pessimistic musings got worse and more desperate.

What if they fling me forward so fast that I fly off the cross, sail over the stage and land in the tuba section of the orchestra? How would I explain that one?

Jesus: Pardon me, could someone help me out of this here tuba, back atop the platform and up on that god-awful tree? I would be eternally grateful.

Meanwhile, my hands, wrist, fingers and forearms were cramping and throbbing in ways I wouldn’t wish on a Democrat. I was without hope, scared to death and miserably wracked with pain!

I just knew that I was going to fall off that cross!

The question remained: How would I play it off?

What exactly is one’s recourse after one has plunged from a piece of wood, killed their precious Mother and rewritten the entire Bible?


My bad?

Could I just lay here and play dead on the sound stage?

Please don’t put me back up there?

Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to find out! The dudes in Roman soldier attire found the black hole and dropped me in straightaway!

Forthwith I let out this bone-chilling shriek of unadulterated distress and ineffable anguish. To the audience they were probably thinking: Wow, great acting. I can really relate to his pathos!

Me personally, I was just glad to be in the hole.

I threw out a, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” And the night was saved.

The next day, we beat the fake-blood-dispenser-guy to death!

Jon Genesis 21:6 Slone

1 comment:

  1. This is an awesome story and the more involved in church plays and theatrics you are the funnier this is because there are always things happening behind the scenes that no one in the audience knows...I was at this performance and not once did I know that Mary was in danger or that, heavens forbid, You could fall off the cross...I did know that you were totally uncomfortable in the diaper because you had told me ahead of time about that...but all the things that run through your head at a time like it and completely oblivious to the folks...totally hilarious....