`I'm not a special actor or anything'

A regular churchgoer tells what it's like to play Jesus Christ

First Person

April 03, 2004|By Larry Bingham | Larry Bingham,SUN STAFF

Glass engraver Tim Re, 45, portrays Jesus Christ in Salisbury Baptist Temple's outdoor drama The Passion Play, which will be performed at 7:30 tonight and tomorrow, and next weekend off Hobbs Road in Salisbury, across from Shorebirds stadium.

In light of Mel Gibson's controversial movie The Passion of the Christ, reporter Larry Bingham asked an ordinary man what it's like to play the role.

"Pastor was just looking for someone to portray Jesus, and he gave me the opportunity and I said, `Well, I'll try.'

"They make me carry the cross. They have these light whips - I don't want to give you all the secrets - and there's blood flying all over the place, and it's quite effective.

"I die on the cross, and they take my body down and put me in the tomb and that's where I raise from the dead and meet my disciples, and they're all shocked that I'm alive. I go to a spot on the set where I actually rise up and the ascension machine puts me up about 25 feet in the air, and the spotlight is on me.

"I'm sure people in their cars see me going straight up in the air, and think, `How is he doing that? Is it wires or what?'

"I haven't had a chance to see The Passion of the Christ. I wanted to see it before we started, to get a feel for how someone else portrayed Jesus, to see if there's something I could do to make it a better performance.

"All you have to do with our performance is drive up in your car and tune in the radio to a set station and listen. As long as there's one car out there, we'll do the performance.

"The most powerful part is when I am up on the cross and I say, `Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.' Then I say, `It is finished' and my head just drops.

"People say shivers go through their body. I wouldn't know what it even looks like since I've never seen it. I don't know how effective I really am. I'm not a special actor or anything. I'm just a regular churchgoer who is portraying a part, and I am honored to do it."

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