Mercury Viewpoint - Tony Mallion
Tony Mallion, Chairman of Gorleston and Bradwell Churches Together.
I was God once. Let me quickly explain, before you call up the men with white coats and soothing voices, that it happened in a school production way back in the sixties.
It was the autumn term at the Technical High (long since Oriel) in Gorleston and deputy head Percy Read was in charge of that year’s Christmas production. He was being very ambitious and staging a version of a medieval mystery play. “Mallion” he said, “I want to see you in my room”. Expecting to be picked as third shepherd on the left, or Joseph if I was very lucky, he handed me a script. Pages upon pages of it. It wasn’t just the prologue it was also a monologue. One very lengthy speech from God. And verily it was to be me !
I was shocked. Another sixth-former was not best pleased since he expected to be the number one choice for the Number One role. He was welcome. I was lumbered. Learning such a marathon was no mean feat, delivering it was almost a disaster. Came the first rehears
al and under Mr. Read’s direction I roared the opening line with all the God-like gravity I could muster: “Lift up thine eyes and behold thy God......”.
Fortunately a supply teacher happened to be at the back of the hall as I did my bellowing bit. She was a trained drama teacher and pointed out that if I carried on shouting my throat wouldn’t last and the voice of God would be silent or reduced to a croak. A bit of breathing and voice production sorted me out and the fact that I ever got through it bordered on the miraculous.
The mystery play was part of a cycle of Bible stories performed by craft guilds in medieval times in our major towns and cities. This one came from Chester. The plays would be performed on carts and taken out on to the streets. It was a way of getting the message out of the churches and taking it to the people.
This Good Friday the churches of Gorleston and Bradwell will be doing something similar, a 21st century version. Instead of a horse-drawn cart a modern lorry will be used. Young people from King’s Church will help bring something of the message of Easter. The transport may be modern but the message of Jesus and the cross will remain the same. And, I promise you, there won’t be any shouting, but through it all you might hear the real voice of God.
- A Passion for Easter will be performed at Pier Gardens at 11; in Magdalen Square at 12 and in the car park of the Rainbow Supermarket in Bradwell at one.