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I had a premonition this performance would not end well. It wasn’t because this was an impossibly big-and-spectacular Easter production that my relatively small-and-homespun church had been rehearsing for months. And it wasn’t because there were two smoke machines in the tomb that kept malfunctioning and the feathers on the angel wings refused to remain glued. No. It was because there was a live animal in the cast – and as the director, it would fall to me to … well … direct it.
Now everyone knows that one of the time-honored maxims of theatre is to never ever share a stage with a baby or an animal. Especially the latter. Animals are unpredictable, pose public hygiene challenges, and are perpetual scene-stealers. But the music director would not listen to any of my arguments and announced that this year Jesus would ride into Jerusalem during the Triumphal Entry song on a donkey. The pastor also thought it was a wonderful idea and read me the Scriptural account in Mark 11 of the “donkey colt that had never been ridden.”
“Don’t you think this will really bring the Bible to life?” he insisted. It’s hard to argue with your pastor when he’s quoting the Word of God. I sighed and relented. The donkey was in.