I was invited to a sneak preview and full rehearsal of the late Terrence McNally’s controversial 1998 play “Corpus Christi,” in which the life and crucifixion of Jesus Christ is reimagined as a young gay man named Joshua in Corpus Christi, at Stage Left Theater on Jan. 20.
This local production by director Troy Nickerson and the play are riveting, thought-provoking, heartfelt and heartbreaking.
The talented and diverse cast is Rhead Shirley as Joshua, Robert Cordero Thompson as Judas, Bridget Pretz as Peter, Michael Schmidt as John, Jaron Fuglie as Phillip, Ollie Davies as Andrew, Colton Sullivan as Matthew, Matt Pope as Thomas, Morgan Cramer as Simon, Gatieh Nacario as James, Rowena Nelson as James the Less, Felix Lewis as Bartholomew and Tre Keough as Thadeus.
Stage Left Theater, with a total capacity of 100 (and 60 seats), is so intimate that you feel the performers’ every word, movement and emotion – love, hatred, desire, longing, hurt and pain. I shed a few tears during the production, and I had to look away at times, the physical and emotional beatings so nearby, real and impactful.
“Corpus Christi” isn’t an easy work, but it is an important work that should be seen and read. Bravo to Nickerson and his wonderful, brave and fearless cast and crew. This was my first time at the local nonprofit theater Stage Left, and it won’t be my last. Now to reread this brilliant work by McNally.
“Corpus Christi” continues at Stage Left Theater, 108 W. Third Ave., through Feb. 6. When: 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Thursday through Feb. 6 and 2 p.m. Sunday and Feb. 6 Tickets: $25. Info: (509) 838-9727, stagelefttheater.org.