In May 1978, I was a star — for one evening. My role: Dieu. It was a medieval passion play that a literature professor in the French Department at the U of I in Champaign-Urbana decided we would take to the stage (in a church on campus).
I didn't audition for the role; I was drafted. A sort of deus ex machina on the part of Professor Bowen, I suppose. I think she picked me partly because, at 29, I was the senior member of the cast.
The French Department chairman, a philologist specializing in old French and the history of the language, coached the whole cast (God, Adam, Eve, Satan, Jesus Christ, and the other usual suspects) on pronunciation, to make sure the rhymes were true.
Yes, it was in verse. It was decided that we actors would not actually have to learn the lines, but would read them. So it was more recital than true acting.We played, believe it or not, to a full
housechurch, even though there were no subtitles.
The photo isn't great. Working with scans of old snapshots makes me realize now much cameras and photography have improved in the digital age.