Elaine Cotter is a junior musical theatre major at IU. You might have seen Elaine as Mrs. Saunders and Victoria in Cloud 9 or as Dot in Sunday in the Park with George at IU. This summer Elaine is in the cast of Indiana Festival Theatre’s production of Godspell, which opens on June 12th and runs through June 29th. Recently, I sat down with Elaine to ask her about her experience being a part of this production of Godspell.
Q. You said that you have a religious background. How does your background affect your approach to Godspell?
A. I am Catholic, so I was already familiar with the parables, but really anyone could read the script a few times and understand them. I just had already heard them, so being Catholic gives me a little bit of background on the show. It also gives me different point of view on it. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, it’s just different.
Q. What are some of the challenges of acting in a musical based on the Bible, which is sacred and familiar to so many people?
A. Well, we want to have fun with the storytelling, but we don’t want to make them less than they are. So, as an actor we walk a fine line between having fun and being blasphemous, but I think we’ve done a good job of respecting the stories in this production.
Q. Has George (the director) addressed religion with the cast?
A. He has, he addressed the religious aspect of the show, but he wants to focus more on community, and the idea that this group of people are following what this one man is saying and they are all aiming for the same goal. It is a group of people who begin as individuals and end up morphing into a community.
Q. What is unique about acting in Godspell?
A. What is cool about this show is that all the actors are playing themselves on stage. We don’t have character names, we just go by our own names. So, we can kind of do whatever we want with the characters, which is really fun!
Q. How does Godspell work in a smart-phone, technology crazed world?
A. The show takes this world of technology that takes over and inhabits everyone’s lives today and it breaks away from all of that. This production removes you from this crazy, chaotic, electronic, economic world so you can just be who you are.
Q. A lot of people have seen Godspell. What is different about this production?
A. Every production of Godspell is so different. Stage directions are usually so specific, but in Godspell, the stage directions just give options of things you could do, or you could ignore those ideas and do whatever you want. But, our production specifically addresses the issue of technology and how stressed out people are today. It’s something that everyone can relate to because everyone, even children now, are stressed out. And the children who are too young to relate to being stressed will love the music!
Q. If you could describe this production in one word, what would it be?
Indiana Festival Theatre’s production of Godspell opens on June 12th and runs through June 29th in the Wells Metz-Theatre in the Lee Norvelle Theatre & Drama Center. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students and $20 for seniors. For more information on Godspell or any of the other Indiana Festival Theatre productions, visit theatre.indiana.edu or call the box office at 812-855-1103.