Terror Texts encore precedes festival performance

Audiences will have another opportunity to see Northwestern College’s production of Terror Texts, the original biblical musical that gained national publicity and commentary after its November performances. The cast will present one more viewing on Friday, Jan. 16, at 7:30 p.m. in Northwestern’s England Theatre.

Tickets for the single performance of Terror Texts are free; call the theatre office beginning Jan. 5 to make reservations: 712-707-7341.

The encore performance will be a rehearsal for the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Jan. 18–23 at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

Terror Texts, created by Jeff Barker with music by Joseph Barker and Heather Josselyn-Cranson, is one of six shows selected for a fully staged performance at the annual festival. The show also may be selected for the national festival at the Kennedy Center in April.

Taken word-for-word from the Old Testament, Terror Texts caught the attention of the Associated Press in November and led to coverage by Fox News, USA Today, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and a host of other news media.

The musical’s themes of misogyny and murder are considered a little unorthodox for the pulpit, so when they show up on stage, performed by actors with Gothic make-up and costumes, a common reaction is: “That’s in the Bible?”

It is, and it obviously has a purpose, says Barker. “If the Bible is truly a text worthy of our attention, why not discover all of it?

The script for Terror Texts is from II Kings 6:24–7:20, II Kings 2:23–25, II Samuel 6:1–23, Judges 3:12–30, Joshua 7:2–26, and Judges chapters 19 to 21.

“The effect is different when you see the passages enacted,” Barker says, explaining that while reading the stories can leave one feeling repulsed and confused, seeing the stories of injustice, mistreatment and deep human suffering might foster empathy.

The Associated Press story included quotes from William Dyrness, professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. He called Terror Texts a “… very Protestant approach where you’re attempting to understand this story so that you can see the way the Bible applies to your life. … You become part of the story.”

Terror Texts MySpace page