Dec 21, 2012

Road to Bethlehem play

When we first arrived two years ago, a friend from Malaysia messaged me on Facebook. "Hey, since you are in Australia now, you guys should go check out the Road to Bethlehem play. I hear it's very good!"

When we spoke to some friends in Melbourne, turns out they were also planning to go to the Melbourne version, so we were sold on the idea. In NSW, it is held in Erina, which is about an hour's drive north of where we are.

The premise is simple - it's a Christmas play about Christmas. But it blew me away because it was a play like no other I had seen. The script was brillant - entertaining, with light-hearted humour and yet touching at the same time. The singing was brillant - at that time, I was surprised at the level of talent an 'amateur' production could host! (I know now that artistic talent is quite abundant in Australia). The production was brillant - the level of detail of the costumes and setup and atmosphere were spot on.

It's also like no other play I've attended because you don't sit on chairs and observe actors on a stage. It's '4D' - you take a journey; you walk through colourful and noisy markets; your sense of smell gets assaulted (the manger smells like a manger because there are animals inside) and as part of the crowd at each scene, you are part of the play.

And it's free! (gold coin donation collected by the tax collectors). We went again this year after a hiatus last year - here are some pix (you can see the top of the audience's heads in some shots).

Road to Bethlehem play NSW

Road to Bethlehem play NSW

There's a real baby in the crib!

Road to Bethlehem play NSW

The best part for me was at the end. You end your journey at the base of a wooden cross, and you are encouraged to write a message to Jesus. Our kids knew the drill and rushed to get a pen and cardboard. I was surprised that Number Two did it (well, he always follows in his brother's footsteps but he can't quite...err... write yet!)

The front two messages are theirs. I love the hearts. (can you make out what Number Two is trying to write?)

Road to Bethlehem play NSW

We were speaking to a centurion who told us that they change the script every year. I preferred the 2010 version, although Number One liked this year's better. The singers were definately better in 2010 and I guess that appealed to me. At the final scene, I was tearing up.

These are some pix from the 2010 version.

Road to Bethlehem play NSW

Road to Bethlehem play NSW

Road to Bethlehem play NSW

Some tips if you are planning to make the trip:

1) It's tempting to take an early show if you have young kids. But the shows that begin at sundown are visually best because the darkness adds to the illusion and ambience.
2) Eat before you go
3) Allocate some times for the markets - there are some activities that kids will enjoy

More information here

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