BWW Interview: Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans Brings Original Musical GARDEN to Life for One Week Only!
Opening tonight for a 4 day only run in the Schulte Auditorium at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana is a new, original musical produced by Dumb Ox Ministries, and written by Joey Martineck with music by Greg&Lizzy. Joey Martineck is currently studying to be a Catholic priest at Notre Dame Seminary, and was inspired to write a musical modern re-telling of the Biblical story of Adam and Eve when he was listening to the album "To the Dust" that Greg&Lizzy had created about the wonders of human love. Greg&Lizzy are a husband and wife writing and recording artist duo who consider their music a ministry, and wish to share the human experience with others.
This unique combination of a non-profit organization producer, a seminarian writer, and husband and wife composer/lyricist team, makes GARDEN a production unlike any other that has been seen in New Orleans, and is not something to be missed. The hope is to bridge the gap between the Catholic Church and the artistry of the theatre, which, unfortunately, are often seen as opposites. In fact, these are two entities that are striving to bring love and beauty into the lives of those who are open to it. With similar goals, and similar messages, this is sure to be an outstanding experience. Keep reading to find out some answers about Dumb Ox Ministries, GARDEN's creative team, how this show came to be, and what are the goals for its future.
What is Dumb Ox Ministries?
Dumb Ox is a 501c3 non-profit organization that works with teens, young adults, and families, cultivating their authentic masculinity and femininity through the lens of the Theology of the Body, helping them to prepare for, discern, and pursue their unique vocations to love. We do this through retreats, camps, multimedia, seminars, parish missions, and creative live events.
What is "Garden" the musical about?
"Garden" is an original musical play written and directed by Joey Martineck and featuring the music of Greg&Lizzy. The dramatic effort is a modern-day, beautiful retelling of the oldest story in the book: the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The play features dialogue that balances humor and drama, a plot that's surprising while being familiar, and themes of authentic human love, relationship, and struggle that inform and inspire the audience with a hope-filled vision of what it means to be human.
Why did you feel that a musical was the best vehicle to tell the story of Adam and Eve?
Dumb Ox had already produced an album a few years ago with Greg&Lizzy ("To the Dust", available on iTunes and on our website), which focused on the drama of the human love story. The playwright, Joey Martineck, was listening to this album when he was struck with the inspiration of writing a play and turning the whole thing into a musical. It's a very familiar story. We've heard it so many times and in so many different contexts, but a musical is not one of them. I also think the musical allows for another layer of expression and power and depth that sometimes a normal play does not afford.
Why do you think modern re-tellings of Biblical stories are important to the young church?
I think capturing the imagination can be an important avenue to considering deeper spiritual realities. Our young church enjoys things that are unique, different, and creative. The New Evangelization, which St. John Paul II characterized as being new in "methods, ardor, and expression," calls for us to take the Gospel and do our best to make it relevant to the particular needs of modern man. We feel that GARDEN is a beautiful example of that approach. It's enjoyable and not intimidating, yet invites us to consider deep truths about who God made us to be and how we are called to love.
How did the collaboration with Greg and Lizzy come about?
Greg Boudreaux works full time for Dumb Ox Ministries. As mentioned above, Greg&Lizzy has written music that has already been produced by Dumb Ox Ministries. The collaboration between Dumb Ox and Greg&Lizzy has been immensely fruitful in many ways over the past 4-5 years. Greg and Lizzy were already friends with Joey Martineck, so the collaboration was very natural.
Are all of your actors and those involved in the show Catholic? If so, was that a requirement to be involved? If not, how have those non-Catholic cast and crew members responded?
Most of the cast and crew involved are Catholic, but not all of them. Everyone involved has been very excited and very respectful. The story is a human story that connects to things with which we all very familiar and have our own unique experiences: love, joy, marriage, good, evil, heartbreak, freedom, and new hope. No matter one's beliefs, we think the show will connect with everyone who enjoys taking a look at the core of what it means to be in relationship and what it means to love.
How are you hoping the city of New Orleans responds to a Biblical musical that is not a satire as so many modern re-tellings are?
GARDEN is not a satire, but it is fun. We hope that this production can spark more thought and conversation about the convergence between art and faith. The work is based on St. John Paul II's thought-provoking work called the "Theology of the Body." He first shared this work with the world via 129 short talks given at the Vatican between 1979-1984. Since then, and especially in the past 20 years or so, there has been an international explosion of interest in this set of biblical reflections that a celibate pope gave regarding the meaning of human love and what God's vision is for the body, sexuality, love, marriage, celibacy, suffering, old age, and more. These themes are sometimes tossed into a morality box, but St. John Paul II cast them into the light of a "deep dignity" box that inspires deeper thought and reflection on our human experiences, especially those subjective ones that we feel deeply within our hearts. John Paul II was a poet and a playwright himself. He knew the power of the spoken word and of theatre. We think that musical theatre is a very rich medium through which to take a creative spin on the Genesis story.
What message are you hoping to spread to audiences through "Garden"?
We would like to share the message that every human being is destined for love, regardless of their past.
What is the goal production-wise for this show? Is it something you are hoping will get produced on a national or even international level?
Certainly, we have high hopes! Conversations are underway about the next steps for GARDEN, but no contracts have been signed and no promises made. There is at least one theater from New York that has a representative coming to see the premiere of the show in New Orleans, which is exciting, but we are staying focused on getting GARDEN off the ground with good momentum for this initial production. We are also so happy that there is great unity of vision between Joey Martineck and Greg&Lizzy, who currently own the copyright for the play.
In a world where the theatre community and the ideals of the Catholic Church tend to collide, do you see this as an attempt to bridge a gap?
Unfortunately, there is a false dichotomy between being involved in theater and being a devoted Christian. Not only does GARDEN bridge the gap between the two worlds, but rather, it creates a beautiful harmony from their union. I believe the Catholic Church longs to experience, in an affective way, some of the truths she holds dear. I believe theater lovers are longing for something to give deeper meaning to their art.
Why do you think theatre is an important art form when it comes to telling religious stories?
Jesus told stories. It was his primary way of teaching, and in some ways, revealing who he was. He knew that the human heart responds this way. Jesus is still speaking today, not only from Sacred Scripture, but through the brokenness of our own stories so often reflected in our art.
Is there anything else about "Garden" that you would like audiences to know about the show?
In many ways, GARDEN responds to many significant questions brought up in Caird and Schwartz's CHILDREN OF EDEN. We believe GARDEN provides some satisfying answers, and even more satisfying questions that will foster a healthy dialogue among audiences.
To find out more about Dumb Ox Ministries or GARDEN, visit http://dumboxministries.com/garden/. The show runs March 16-19. Tickets range anywhere from $20-$37, and they're selling out fast! Make sure to order ahead so you don't miss out on this beautifully unique opportunity!