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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, September 04, 2003
    A revival
    A man died last year and an entire production was postponed. Paul supported his wife Gill in the massive task she took on each summer - director of our youth drama group, in their annual gathering to put together a popular musical. With offstage workers and venue volunteers well over a hundred people took part in these shows. Add in the networks of family and friends represented by each young person involved, and it's no exaggeration to say that virtually all the local community knew about it when the curtain opened on these productions.

    When Paul died at 35, suddenly and shockingly, beaten by a brutal cancer, each one felt his loss very deeply. Doubtless he would have wanted it to, but there was no way the show could go on last year. It hurt too many people too much.

    But tonight my ears ring a bit because I've been sitting close to the PA system as a reinvigorated cast whacked out songs from Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. It's a revival.

    So good to be faced again with decisions like - do we invite the Potiphar character to perform a reprise of his gyrating Elvis song during Sunday's 'Joseph'-themed communion service? So good to be out there calling raffle numbers and handing out bottles of Bells to winning grandmas in the interval. So good to see those children onstage loving the fun, lost in the movement, living the music, and the pride and amusement on their families' faces in the audience.

    And now I'm home I'm picturing the colours of those lively costumes so well designed by volunteer ladies. Picturing the finale where Joseph's coat grows ribbons, each a different colour, and cast members hold them out in a rainbow arc behind him. This merges in my mind's eye with a vision of prayer flags, fluttering in the sacred breeze. Back in the show, I think: no-one's saying them, but deep down doubtless a few are feeling them - gentle, thankful, fond, prayers for Paul.