Tonawanda News

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August 1, 2013

Prepare ye the way

Ghostlight Theatre presents production of 'Godspell'


Tonawanda News — “It’s been very humbling. You almost have to be the world’s nicest person. ‘How would I want him to act toward me?’ That’s what I learned to do on stage, to keep that attitude in mind.”

Sean Polen of City of Tonawanda, who plays the dual roles of John the Baptist and Judas in the show, was faced with somewhat of a similar-yet-opposite task: How to make one of the Bible’s great villains into a relatable character.

“It’s kind of looking at some kind of way to make Judas likable. ... Why is Jesus hanging out with this guy who is kind of a jerk?” he said. “You want him to have some charisma, like he belongs as part of the group, even though he isn’t.

“I try to make it come across that Judas doesn’t feel he has a choice in doing what he does ... in that he’s stopping somebody he feels is overly radical.”

Both actors cited how “Godspell” can be a very different show depending on who’s directing it, praising Swartz for her vision of the musical

“One of the things I love about this specific ‘Godspell’ is what Debby’s turned it into,” Torres said. “Without giving a lot away, she’s like me, she’s very involved with her faith.

“What she’s turned it into is something fun, you’ll laugh a lot, you’ll feel a lot of emotion going through the whole thing. ... Debby has had this jumping-off point and she’s turned it into something beautiful. It’s an amazing show.”

Polen cited Swartz’s rule for the actors: “Be as comfortable as possible.”

“This is a very, very different Godspell than what most people are used to,” he said. “She went for a little bit more of a different style, which I like.”

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