If you've read my blog for very long, you already know I am crazy about my wife, my kids and Eureka Springs - especially the ES&NA Railway, where I proposed and she said yes.
So any time I can get all of them together, it's especially wonderful for me, and last weekend I did.
We did the trolley buses, the toy stores, the great places to eat, the excursion railway ride, and even the Passion Play. It's called the Great Passion Play. Maybe I'm too critical, but if I were still writing advertising copy for clients in Eureka Springs, I would only rate it as the Pretty Good Passion Play.
It is outdoors, in a wonderfully hilly and wooded setting with terrific sets, special effects, costumes, animal and human extras, and cast. Since it's pre-recorded and the actors just mime to the dialogue, it loses some of its power to me. And the script is a little odd at times. While it's been carefully edited to remove any reference to "the Jews" that might sound anti-Semitic, some moments and lines have been added to Jesus' last week in Jerusalem that you won't find in a Bible I know of.
There's the healing of the little crippled girl in front of the temple, who leaves her crutch behind and races into Jesus' arms. Do you remember that moment in scripture? It might have happened. But I don't think anyone wrote about it.
I don't remember Jesus having a tussle with Satan in the tomb, either - but the dialogue and special effects sure did imply it heavily!
And I guess I just was a little put off by the voice talent who recorded the role of Jesus. If Jesus' voice broke occasionally, I think it would add dramatic effect to some of the moments portrayed. But this actor's voice was faltering in just about every blinkin' line!
But, you know, we went there for the kids. And it was just about right for them. Matthew, the consummate teenager at 14, kept trying to divert my attention from his moist-eyed empathy by asking how certain special effects were done. And 11-year-old Laura - very quietly, afterward in our hotel room - was asking her momma what all it means to be baptized.
You see, for all the things this would-be writer would try to "set right" in the Passion Play script, there was a lot that was already "right" about it - and it didn't shy away from baptism at all.
Listening to Angi quietly and gently speak with Laura about baptism while Matthew and I overheard is one of those Eureka moments that will always be precious to me.
Now, to divert your attention from any moist-eyed empathy you might have experienced reading this: Matthew's YouTube video of good ol' diesel locomotive #4742 smashing coins on the tracks as it passes - and featuring a one-second cameo by Laura: