Why do bad things happen to good people? If there is suffering in the world, how do we know there is a god? These are the questions John Angotti focuses on in his musical, “JOB: The Now Testament.”
St. Monica Catholic Community will present a special performance of the production on Friday, Aug. 28 at 8 p.m. as part of their annual Feast Day celebration honoring their patroness, St. Monica.
“JOB: The Now Testament” tells the story of a man named Aaron who is dealing with the subject matter of his own mortality, as the play begins with Aaron and his wife and friends waiting to hear news about Aaron’s health. Aaron receives bad news, and his friend, an agnostic, begins to question his faith because of it.
That night, the group happens to be on their way to feed children at a soup kitchen. After they return home, Aaron is in his bedroom wondering, “Why does it have to be me?” about his illness. He has a religious friend who heard his lament and comes to tell him the story of Job, as he believes it will help him understand his suffering better. As his friend tells the story Aaron drifts off.
While he sleeps, Aaron dreams he is Job and lives out the Old Testament tale, with his friends serving as all the different characters.
When he awakens Aaron has to decide what to do regarding his suffering and illness after what he learned through his dream.
“At the end of the show it leaves people with a sense of hope,” Angotti said. “It leaves people with a sense of healing. So if somebody is dealing with bullying as a teenager, or relationship issues, or the loss of a job … Somehow through this show, the music and the message of it, people can hold on to faith and recognize it and see how God is working in our everyday lives.”
The show will feature Angotti, Anna Betancourt, Nathan Shrake, and St. Monica parishioner, Harrison Crenshaw, with Meredith Dean Agustin, Phoebe Crenshaw, Merrick McMahon, and ten select voices from the student choir at St. Monica, Monica’s Joy.
Angotti is based in Memphis, Tenn., but his fulltime music ministry, John Angotti Music Mission (JAMM), has taken him around the world, including his “home away from home,” Santa Monica.
“[St. Monica’s] does a lot of my music, so there is that connection.”
Angotti said that the play is intended for all ages and he believes it is a great fit for the St. Monica Feast Day Celebration.
“It’s a great opportunity for those who come, because St. Monica’s is an awesome family here, where they really do a great job with their ministries. And the ministries are always for those who are in need. And that’s what the show kind of brings about … Our faith is not through our words but through our actions. And St. Monica’s is a place that does that everyday,” Angotti said.
Regarding the subject matter of the show, Angotti said it deals with questions almost everyone has faced.
“The question of people today is “Where is God in the middle of suffering?” And “Is there even a god?” Because they feel like we are just a planet here in the middle of nowhere in space. And that we made up the idea of God just to keep order in the world. And there are a lot of people that feel that way.
So the musical kind of opens up the discussion for people to recognize our lives are gifts … I’ve always said we’ve each been given a paint brush and at the end of our lives what kind of picture are we painting? You know, how are we leaving the world for the next generation?
So if our ideas of success are where you live, or how much money you have, or what car you drive, well that eventually leads to despair and emptiness.
But if we recognize that success at the end of our lives is by how much of a difference we’ve made, and who we’ve loved and who we cared for to make their lives better, that’s success that lasts for eternity.”
Tickets for the show are $15 general admission; $10 for seniors and children 12 and under and are available online at www.stmonica.net/JOB through August 27 or in St. Monica’s Parish Office.
There will be a small service charge for tickets purchased with a debit/credit card. Tickets will also be available at the door for $20/$15.
Dogtown Dogs and The Lobos Truck will be on the St. Monica campus for dinner beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Learn more about the musical at www.jobthenowtestament.com.