Playing the Rapture (2008)


Playing the Rapture is an original hour-long theater work created with Antoinette LaFarge at the Baltimore Theatre Project in March 2008. This two-person show examines the peculiar American evangelical belief in the Rapture—understood as that instant when every real Christian gets suddenly snatched up from  earth, leaving the rest of humanity in a state of chaos and catastrophe dominated by the Antichrist. We wanted to investigate the the social and political implications of “end times” theology and its echoes in some scientists’ interest in colonizing space: basically, the idea that it is ok to just abandon earth when it is ‘used up’.

Playing the Rapture features two characters who are gamers; they are beta-testing a new game about a post-Rapture world while arguing over everything from game mechanics to ontology.  We started by playing a computer game that was made from the “Left Behind” novels, a series of popular bestsellers about a post-Rapture world. It is a really terrible game: dull to play, socially retrograde (in game, women can be nurses but not doctors), and theologically controversial. The gamers’ conversations found their way into our script, and we grabbed video footage of game play (“machinima” video)  to construct a virtual set for our two characters.

Some performance videos:

“How Bad Can It Get?”

“Praying”

“Phrases for an End Time”

PROJECT CREDITS

Concept and set design: Robert Allen and Antoinette LaFarge

Direction: Robert Allen

Video editing, script, and programming: Antoinette LaFarge

Actors: John Mellies and Jay Wallace

Playing the Rapture