New Play Explores Struggles of Mary and Joseph Before Christ’s Birth
“I don’t think we can appreciate the light,” says the playwright, “if we don’t acknowledge the dark.”
G.K. Chesterton Entertainment, a new production company founded by Maria Vargo and Jonathan Roumie (Jesus in The Chosen, the largest crowd-funded TV series in history), is presenting a staged reading of Denise Vi Flaten’s 30 Minutes B.C.: A Nativity Play for online viewers. Featuring Clayton Snyder (Ethan Craft in Lizzie McGuire) as Joseph and Zuri Starks as Mary, with Jonathan Roumie providing stage directions, this 45-minute staged reading for the Christmas season explores the struggles Joseph and Mary might have had as they prepared for the coming of the Christ child.
“Mary and Joseph suffered from the same stuff we do. They’re not as unrelatable as we think,” said Vi Flaten. “I hope I’ve taken the warm, comfortable living Nativity scenes we’ve seen before and problematized them a bit, because I don’t think we can appreciate the light if we don’t acknowledge the dark.”
Click here to watch the 45-minute production. Viewers are requested to make a $20 donation to watch the production, with proceeds benefitting G.K. Chesterton Entertainment.
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G.K. Chesterton Entertainment exists to “create entertainment which challenges our culture to boldly live out its faith.” Originally founded in 2010, the company took a brief hiatus before returning with The Last Days, a live-streamed Easter Passion play. Roumie and Vargo served as producers, directors and lead actors of The Last Days, Roumie portraying Christ, and Vargo Mary. Both are Catholics motivated by a spirit of evangelization.
As an actor, Roumie has been portraying Christ in different productions six years, most notably for the TV series The Chosen. He said that when live audiences see him in The Last Days, some seem to forget he’s an actor and seem to believe they are laying eyes on Christ Himself. He said, “It’s daunting and humbling. No human can fill His sandals, but I try my best as an actor to portray him in a way that is both acceptable and relatable.”
He added that playing Christ has become a ministry of sorts, with his goal “to bring people closer to him. It has become a major part of who I am professionally, and it has helped me grow spiritually in ways I could not have anticipated.”
Roumie was recruited to portray Christ by Vargo, who first met him while she was portraying St. Faustina in a play produced by St. Luke Productions. Vargo noted, “Jonathan embodies Him so beautifully. To see him portray Christ at the Last Supper is incredible and beyond words.”
To prepare for the role, Roumie spends much time I prayer, particularly the Rosary, and frequently attends Mass. He explained, “I ask for wisdom and humility in playing my role, and that I become a channel of the Holy Spirit to reach out to people.”
Vargo, too, prays for success in portraying Mary, and asks that “God work through me.”
She has seen many touched by The Last Days, including a nun who told her, “Thank you for doing this play. You reminded me of why I took my vows.”