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I saw Joseph at 2:45 pm on July 16th, 2015 at Sight and Sound theatres in Strasburg, Pennsylvania. The show is about a young man named Joseph, who has to learn the secret of forgiveness. This play follows the bible story of Joseph, which takes place in Genesis chapters 37-47. The story is centered around Joseph, his eleven siblings and his father, Jacob. Of Joseph’s 11 siblings, only one is by the same mother. The idea of forgiveness is most prevalent in this story, whilst the idea of fear and trust is also prevalent. As was the idea of right versus wrong. The idea of right versus wrong was most prevalent when Joseph struggled with himself over whether he should throw his brothers in the deepest, darkest dungeon and leave them there or whether he should forgive him. Whether he should do what is wrong or what is right. Another time that this idea was relevant was when Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. Another time as well was when Joseph’s brothers debated what to do to him.
The play begins with Joseph sitting in a wagon. He falls asleep and begins dreaming. He dreams of 13 trees bowing down to him. These trees he took to be his brothers and his parents. He tells his brothers of his dream and they become jealous of him. In the next scene, Joseph returns home to Jacob’s camp. Jacob then invites Joseph to have dinner with him alone. When Simeon asks if he can eat with them, Jacob replies, “Go home to your family.” During dinner, Joseph tells Jacob and his younger brother Benjamin of his dream. Jacob begs him not to tell his brothers as they are jealous. Joseph replies that he already has. After dinner, Joseph falls asleep next to the fire and dreams of eleven stars bowing down to him and the sun and the moon bowing down to him as well. Again, representing his eleven brothers and his mother and father. He tells his brothers of his dream. They make fun of him and make him promise never to wear his coat again. Then, his father, Jacob, states he does not believe in Joseph’s dream. Joseph runs off, upset. Benjamin comes to find him and tells Joseph he believes in his dreams. Jacob finds them and asks Joseph to find his brothers. Joseph goes to find his brothers and they throw him in a pit. His brothers then meet a merchant and sell Joseph to him as a slave. Joseph is then sold to Potiphar. Potiphar is impressed by Joseph’s intelligence and kindness. He enjoys Joseph’s company. Potiphar’s wife, too enjoys Joseph’s company and over time, grows fond of him. After some time, she tempts Joseph and tells him she wants him. He replies she is his employer and a married woman. She replies she does not want Potiphar, but instead Joseph. Joseph refuses to do what she wants. Lady Potiphar then tells her husband that Joseph raped her and though he doubts his wife, he questions Joseph. Though he doubts his wife even after the questioning and seeing for himself that Joseph is truly innocent, he puts Joseph in a prison far away. After some time, Pharaoh requests that Joseph tell him what his dreams mean. Joseph deciphers Pharaoh’s dream to mean that there will be seven years of plenty and then a severe famine. Joseph tells Pharaoh what he suggests so that the famine will not be a problem for Egypt. After seeing Joseph’s intelligence, he decides that Joseph should be in charge of this task of preparing Egypt for the famine. He deems Joseph second only to him, and only in law making. Joseph then marries Azenath and has two sons. Some time later, the famine occurs and Joseph’s brothers minus Benjamin, show up to gather food for their family. Joseph’s assistant questions them and says that one of them must stay and go back for their other brother, Benjamin. Simeon, as the oldest, stays. Joseph tells Azenath what he has planned for his brothers. She begs him not to plot revenge as it is not what is right. He agrees after thinking it through. Though against Jacob’s will, Benjamin goes with his brothers to Egypt. Joseph then invites the brothers to dinner. They share a meal and talk about their family and life. Joseph slips a silver goblet into one of the brothers sacks and accuses them of stealing it. He plants the goblet on Benjamin so that he can keep him with him and protect him from his other brothers. Simeon, Reuben and the others say that they will take Benjamin’s place. That their father is old and will surely die without Benjamin. Joseph tells them to go retrieve their father. Once their father returns, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and his father. They all celebrate and embrace each other. Joseph invites them to stay with him in Pharaoh’s palace.
All of the actors/actresses were amazing. They all had wonderful voices, however some were more trained/seasoned than others. Joshua Keefer, who played Joseph, was incredible. His voice was very impressive as he had a very wide range. He also was an incredible actor. He really portrayed emotion well and without that, the story would not have made such an impact on the audience. Melissa Mejrabian who played Potiphar’s wife also had a very impressive voice and was particularly good at acting her part. Steve Atherholtz, who played Simeon, was very good at portraying his part and really made the audience believe that he hated Joseph. It was very well done. However, he struggled with the musical pieces and did not have the strongest voice, but that did not really detract from the play as a whole. Tom Sharps, who played Jacob was excellent as well. He was very convincing in his character. Jessica Atherholtz, who played Azenath, did a great job in her character and really helped to move along the story. She too, did a great job at portraying emotion. All of the information I have here about the actors comes from this youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-u7d4ZQe8E. There was no wasted space and the play really benefitted from the large stage that it had.
The set was appropriate. In the first scene, the set was a wagon stage left, with some straw. During Joseph’s dream in this scene, they used white strobe lights to make it seem dream like. Then, the scene changed and there was a tent made out of colorful fabric, much like Joseph’s coat, center stage. There was also rocks in front of the tent, which was the base of the tent. On the rocks, Jacob built a fire later on, which Joseph and Jacob ate dinner around. In the next scene, a screen fell behind a tree, which was center stage and this was where Joseph and Benjamin spoke. Then, as Joseph went to Dothan to find his brothers, the scene changed to the town and there were buildings both stage right and left and rocks/the pit, stage right. Then the scene changed again to the Merchant’s boat on stage left and large Pharaoh statues, stage right. The next scene was where there was a projection of doors on the back of the stage at center stage and on stage left was a table, with a white table cloth and food on it. Then there was a scene change to a rock in a prison, which is stage right and chains chaining Joseph to the rock. On Stage Left was a door and stairs down to the “prison”. Then the scene changed and on stage left was a wagon of grain. Then, the scene switched back to Jacob’s camp and then back to Egypt. The set overall really contributed to the story and made it come alive. The lighting was different depending on the scene. In Joseph’s dreams, there were strobe lights, to make it dream-like, and the star, sun, and moon projections on the ceiling. They especially used lots of purple during the Egypt scenes. Sound effects present were the sound of the doors to Pharaoh’s Palace and the music present in this musical. Also the echo effect used during Joseph’s screams on the way down into the pit. Costumes for this show were quite impressive. Joseph’s costume was very colorful and he wore gold wristlets. Whilst after being in prison, he wore white. His brothers wore lots of browns and reds. Much darker colors. The Egyptians wore more colorful clothing but for the most part, they wore purple. Especially Pharaoh and Potiphar. Azenath wore purple as well. Props used here were rope, chains, a staff, candles, torch, and the bags of grain, as well as many other items.
Overall, the audience was very attentive. Everyone in the play had really high energy and was really dedicated to their roles. Overall, the performance was extremely impressive and it was as if the actors were the characters. This play has made me realize that if you really delve into a role and are really enthusiastic about it, then the audience will be as well and the show will be a result of that. Overall, the show was amazing and I enjoyed watching everyone involved.
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