A pastor with the United Methodist Church has put together a one-woman performance meant to showcase a comedic side to the stories of the Good Book. Known as the "Bible Cabaret," the production was put together by the "Irreverent Reverend" Jane Voigts, who has a professional comedy background.
A Cabaret is a form of entertainment featuring music, song, dance, recitation or drama. It is mainly distinguished by the performance venue, such as in a restaurant, pub or nightclub with a stage for performances. The audience, often dining or drinking, does not typically dance but usually sits at tables.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Voigts explained that the inspiration for the "Bible Cabaret" came via a friend's suggestion.
"As a former professional comedian, I have long had an interest in the idea of and scholarship about 'the comedy of the Bible,' even the notion that the Bible IS a comedy," said Voigts.
"I then saw a show that a couple of friends did in a small theater where she did her monologues and characters and he performed his songs. I liked that format a lot, so I decided to create a show pairing my 'comic lens' monologues and characters with the music of a local musician/band."
In her show, the UMC pastor dubs the fall of man as a "coming of age" story, not unlike "getting drunk for the first time," and describes Sarah (Abraham's wife) as "the first lady of laughter."
Regarding feedback for the "Bible Cabaret," Voigts said the reaction to her performance has been overwhelmingly positive though she has heard some objections.
"Folks who have seen the show love it! I've gotten lots of great feedback; audiences want to see and learn more," said Voigts.
"Some who have heard about the show object to the idea of the Bible being lifted up as 'entertainment.' I'm sure some will/do object to my findings and suggestions; what I hope to do is add another voice to the mix of approaches to and understandings of the text; give pilgrims additional questions and observations to wrestle with."
Voigts' first performed the "Bible Cabaret" in August 2013 at a Hollywood performance space known as the FAKE Gallery. Traveling across the United States, Voigts will be next performing at the Des Moines Social Club on Thursday and then at other venues in Minneapolis and Los Angeles.
In March, "Bible Cabaret" will be performed at Claremont with the sponsorship of the United Methodist-affiliated Claremont School of Theology.
"The show would be performed primarily but not exclusively in clubs and theaters rather than churches, to emphasize the entertainment value the Bible in fact contains," she said.