Seeing through Christ’s eyes

Tim Camerer is one of four actors protraying Jesus in Faith Evangelical Free Church's "Redemption Road" that will run at select times between Monday and April 7. — Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Tim Camerer is no stranger to acting, but next week he may be taking on one of his most difficult roles yet: Jesus Christ.

“It’s who we’re all called to be, but none of us are capable of being,” Camerer said. “You don’t dare get it wrong, but you’re not sure if you can ever really get it right.”

Camerer is one of four actors playing the role of Jesus for Faith Evangelical Free Church’s “Redemption’s Road” in Austin. The production, running 20 times on select days between April 1 and April 7, is an interactive tour of the final days of Jesus’ life, up through burial and resurrection.

“To even try to see through his eyes is such an enriching experience,” Camerer said. “It’s very powerful that

Tim Camerer, one of four actors portraying Jesus in Faith Evangelical Free Church's "Redemption Road" points out and talks about the various locations representing portions of Jesus' last days.

way.”

Camerer is not a full-time actor; his day job is arts director at Precision Signs in Austin. But he has a history of participating in Faith Church’s productions.

“I’ve always enjoyed acting,” he said. His enthusiasm started when he was a senior in high school, acting in a production of “The Music Man” put on at Riverland Community College. Before taking on the role of Jesus, Camerer played Doubting Thomas in a production of “Easter Song.”

The church has done many theatrical and musical performances, he said. Typically, the church has auditions for its roles. But the show came together in such a short time that the director, Carolyn Miller, put all willing participants in a spot.

“Carolyn knows the different people and what they’re capable of,” Camerer said.

The production requires the help of more than 40 people, including a separate Jesus for each of its four daily tours. Tour times overlap and go in quick succession, with one starting at the beginning when the one before it reaches a halfway point.

 

Camerer said even the schedule worked out for actors to take a second show, they would be too worn out to act it. “You’d have to actually be Jesus to manage that,” he said. The other Jesuses gave Camerer ideas on different ways to interpret the role, he added.

“Your interactions change,” he said. “There’s a little bit of ad-lib in this as well.” While the scenes are each scripted to an extent, one Jesus may elicit a different reaction from supporting actors than another.

Redemption’s Road is the first time the church has done something interactive, Faith Church Pastor Tim Batdorf said. The idea for Easter was originally to have stations of the cross represented by artwork of different media.

“Carolyn Miller had thought of a similar thing, but doing it more dramatically,” Batdorf said. “Inviting people to tour along with Jesus.”

The audience will be able to become part of the scene’s action. They can have their feet washed, join the crowd in jeering Jesus while he carries the cross and look into his empty tomb.

Miller said she hopes people will have an easier time gaining a sense for the event’s reality, for what really happened, “rather than just having something that they watch happen in front of them.”

Camerer agreed.

“This is supposed to be interactive,” he said. “Not that you’re going to be forced to do anything, but there will be opportunities that help you make the most of it.” The event can immersive and enlightening, he added. This is Camerer’s first interactive drama work.

The tour is about an hour long, with tickets at $5 per person, or $15 per family. The church encourages people to get tickets in advance, but hopes to not have to turn any last-minute guests away, Batdorf said.

“We’re hoping to fill most of these tours,” he said.

Faith Church offers more information at www.faithchurchaustin.org.

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