Who's that Girl?
The early eighties where the strangest of times; Punk had tried its hardest to destroy Disco, but from the ashes of Disco and the dislocation of Punk came a new wave of electronic dance music. This new breed of misfits and outcasts brought a thrift shop glamour to popular culture; from the minimalism of Soft Cell and the blurring of gender by the likes of Boy George & Annie Lennox, to the pretty New Romanic boys and girls; you had to be tough to wear that much make up in public. This new cultural awakening came from a tough place; economic upheaval, unemployment, cuts in welfare, increased homelessness, the birth of “greed as good”; as well as routine violence directed towards anyone rumoured to be gay, the return of fascism, and a new and fatal virus. Does any of this sound familiar?
When looking again at the Easter Story, I kept being drawn back to the music and culture of the early eighties. In his time, Jesus hung out with the misfits and outcasts and challenged the social & economic norms of the day. So, it seemed right that Christ would be found on the dance floor.
Here comes the Biblical bit…
When we meet Sophia, she is described as “Lady Wisdom”. Wisdom in ancient Hebrew culture was often personified as female, and she was also the Spirit (sometimes known as “Sophia”). This Spirit of life inhabited all things, and Christ was said to be there at the beginning, in the form of God’s word. By Jesus’ time, much of this understanding of the feminine nature of the Divine had faded; hardly surprising in a male dominated culture. But the point of Christ, isn’t that he was male, the point is that Christ was the Divine within humanity. So, what if she was just an ordinary / extraordinary girl, what then?
Much of the Play is set in Baal’s night club; Baal was an ancient belief system based upon the worship of various idols; Molech was such an idol; taking the form of a Bull; Molech demanded virgin sacrifice. For our Play, Baal and Molech symbolise both the death of innocence and the birth of various forms of idolatry, including the systems of oppression, prejudice and inequality which still grind people down today. Sophia is a story for today. Let’s dance!