James Burke-Dunsmore, the professional actor who plays Jesus in ‘The Life of Christ’, Wintershall production, reflects on how rehearsing dramatised scripture has impacted him.
“The first time I read the Bible I knew that its purpose was to improve my life. I didn’t know to what extent. The more I have rehearsed with it, the more that I have repeated these stories over and over, and the more I’ve been able to get under the surface of it, explore what the essence of each of these stories are, the more I have grown. It is not only peeling away the layers of the story also digesting the stories deeper and deeper into yourself, so that they become part of you. It is one thing to just know the stories, it is another thing to really have absorbed it so much that it becomes part of your cellular activity – that the echoes of the story are vibrating around you all through the day. In every scenario that you walk into you can recall a story or encounter with Jesus. Perhaps in the Old Testament or New Testament – once you have those echoes they guide you. They guide you in a more succinct way, a better, perhaps more gracious way – in many different ways. The more you do it, the less clumsy you are.”
…”Take ‘forgiveness’ – forgiveness is a very difficult thing to do, particularly very time you are required to or given the opportunity to forgive someone, it is often a completely different scenario. There are so many permutations to it. I try to work out or wonder how do I forgive this person, or forgive myself, or a situation. The examples in the Bible are so beautifully elegantly described. It is like knowing the most beautiful songs, and being able to sing them in the most beautiful in tune way, and so you’re not clumsy anymore. You can just forgive simply, without any struggle or conflict. You just forgive. That’s the benefit that I have found in exploring scripture and doing so through theatre has allowed me to do it . By the actions of rehearsals, the repetition allows repeated viewings of the same stories and so that’s why I understand them to a greater degree than if I read them twice. “
James Burke-Dunsmore May 2016
For more audio interviews with James on the power of drama, Listen here.