Davina Henry, Staff Reporter
A flash-flood warning did little to deter the crowd that turned out to offer support to the Missionaries of the Poor's annual event. Having never attended any of Father Ho Lung's plays before, I was excited and looking forward to the experience of The Messiah.
Despite the pouring rain, intermittent lightning and thunder, hundreds turned out for the event. If Jamaicans came out in the rain on a Sunday evening, the interrest must have been great.
The National Arena was almost filled to capacity (and two of next weekend's show are already sold out), when Father Ho Lung took to the stage.
"With Jamaica celebrating 50 years, we need to remember that Jesus is the foundation for Jamaica's civilisation," he said.
The Messiah, which centres around the crucifixion and ascension of Jesus Christ, was well put together. With a cast of more than 20 persons and with excellent costumes, the production was both entertaining and educating.
As is expected from a musical, the story unfolds through song and dance. The Messiah opens with Joseph of Arimathaea telling the villagers the history of salvation and Jesus' fulfilment of it.
The scene then moves to Mary being told that she has been chosen to be the mother of The Messiah.
Act one of The Messiah takes us through the spectacular biblical journey of Mary being denied a room in an inn, the sermon on the mount, the call of the 12 disciples, and the woman at the well.
Video mapping transformed the play's backdrop from scene to scene, something Father Ho Lung had been particularly excited about. I was equally anxious to see how the technology would work.
Video mapping is projection technology used to turn irregularly shaped objects into a display surface for projection.
Genres of ska, reggae, dancehall and mento were incorporated into the musical, giving it a multi-dimensional feel.
My anticipation grew as act Two began, and I anxiously waited for Father Ho Lung to make his appearance in this play. He had promised to dance, and I ensured that I was front and centre for this.
With superb acting and catchy songs, the fast-paced act two showcased the miracle of the five loaves of bread and two fish spreading to feed a multitude of people, and Jesus walking on water.
I was not disappointed when Ho Lung made his appearance. The scene opens with Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Father Ho Lung then steals the scene when he appears in shades and begins to dance. Another cast member begins to teach him the latest dance moves, which he does his best to imitate.
Just as he is about to exit the stage, he takes a cigar from his pocket and puffs it, which further excited the audience.
Having interviewed Father Ho Lung a week prior to the play, I was most excited to see the ascension and how they would pull it off. It was an interesting attempt.
To say the play was a huge success would be an understatement. Made possible by support from corporate Jamaica, the inspirational musical is definitely a must-see.