Jesus Master Builder at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Jesus Master Builder. Photo credit: Trish van Doornum

Jesus Master Builder. Photo credit: Trish van Doornum

Jesus Master Builder by Mark Allan Greene
August 11, 15 – 18, 21 at Venue #1: Westbury Theatre


An interview with director Trish van Doornum.

Describe your show in five words. 

Puns, dad jokes, carpentry, wordplay!

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

When Jebediah & his wife move in to their shiny new condo, built by Joseph & Sons Contracting Ltd., they find that Jesus has so many mistakes it would take a miracle to fix them!  So, spurred on by his nagging wife, Jebediah forms the first condo association and seeks out Jesus Christ to honour their contracts for quality carpentry.  We follow the Customers of Christ as they try to nail down Jesus (to fix their homes!) through His many historical moments.

Jesus Master Builder was part of Walterdale Theatre’s From Cradle to Stage new work development festival. How did being part of that program help the play evolve?

There were so many wonderful benefits to being part of From Cradle to Stage.  For Mark it was a chance to work with an amazing mentor, Mieko Ouchi, and to have the work produced as he had envisioned it.  It also gave him the opportunity, when it was fully staged and running, so see what connected with audiences and what didn’t. He’s been able to use that knowledge to take out things that didn’t work and, overall, make it tighter show.  And we have almost all of the original cast and crew returning to for this production!

Where does the comedy in Jesus Master Builder come from?

We’ve all been where Jebediah is, someone has left us a lurch on a project or whatever and we spend a massive amount of time chasing them down.  All of us can relate to just wanting something very simple and it becoming a thousand times more difficult that it should be.  The humour comes when we see part of ourselves in Jebediah, or his customers or even how Jesus reacts to Jebediah asking for what was promised to him.   We have the added bonus some of good old visual comedy cues that we have built in and those one line puns that Mark has crafted so beautifully!

From when I spoke with Mark spoke about Jesus Master Builder at From Cradle to Stage, I know that there are quite a few biblical puns in Jesus Master Builder, but what is there in the show for those without a Christian background to enjoy?

Personally, I don’t have a biblical background either, I’ve never read the source material!  Through pop culture, I think we’re all aware of the ‘big picture’ parts of the bible and the rhetoric that goes along with it – that is more than enough to understand the show.  We’re using the universal language of comedy and if you happen to get the biblical references, great!  You’ll laugh even longer and louder!

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

This show isn’t about making fun of religion or anyone’s personal beliefs, we’re just taking a moment of ‘What if’ and saying, “We all know that Jesus was an amazing messiah and son of God but what if he just happened to be bad at the job he had in those intervening years – carpentry.”

The 35th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 11 – 21. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.

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