Last semester, “The Bible Women’s Project” sent shock waves through campus with its honesty, diversity, and impact. When it recently returned on Sept. 11, its message was just as powerful as the first performance.
BWP debuted on campus last spring featuring a group of female students and faculty, led by Director Tara Brooke Watkins performing and discussing biblical stories solely from the female perspective. The play entertained the audience with creative depictions and challenged them with tough questions about sensitive subjects within the Church.
The reactions to the original performances were so positive that Watkins decided to add an encore for the following weekend, then demand for another show led to a third pair of performances this fall.
The third weekend of performances continued to deliver raw, unfiltered, and defining truths concerning women in the Bible.
Considering its original success, most of the play was left unchanged. The mini-musical production of Ruth’s story and the “Bad Women of the Old Testament” skit once again filled the Cove auditorium with incessant laughter. In contrast, Senior Kelsie Griffes’ performance of Eve pleading for forgiveness and the references to victims of rape again brought the audience to a somber silence.
However, the play was not completely without modification. Senior Shelly Greaves took over the role of Woman 3.
Additionally, this time around they reconsidered their own interpretation of Hagar, contemplating her role as a potential rape victim. This opened the conversation up to race, a topic not previously found in last semester’s performance. The scene featured the play’s videographer, Senior Frankie Bruny, who joined the women on stage to discuss her personal opinions on the topic.
This inclusion not only shined attention on the importance of these topics, but also improved the relevance of the play by discussing another pivotal subject in current society.
While the play itself had no negative differences to its past performances, the same cannot be said for the audience. It seemed as if this particular audience did not know how to react to the most personal and touching moments: when some of the women shared their deepest insecurities, many members of the crowd laughed nervously or mumbled to each other.
Regardless of the crowd’s faint reactions, the women kept their energy high during this three-hour production. Their conversations about marriage expectations, sexuality, and societal pressures came about genuinely and naturally. Despite having to recite the same lines countless times, the discussions seemed spontaneous which helped the viewers feel connected.
The group’s performance of “Jesus Paid It All” was perhaps the most impactful moment this time around. Senior Micah Hobson led the piece with soulful tone and expression. When the rest of the women joined in, their harmonies were much tighter than past performances. It was a beautiful worship moment that portrayed the value of Jesus’ sacrifice in a genuine way.
With the response that BWP has received on campus, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bible Women’s Project spread its wings, as Watkins has expressed plenty of interest in broadcasting the project to various audiences and venues