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Messages of Bible shared by comic duo

March 19, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

BOONSBORO - Often barefoot, with suspenders anchored to their pants, the Mennonite comedy team of Ted & Lee TheaterWorks presented its unique brand of New Testament humor Sunday at Boonsboro High School.

"Wow, you know what I think? I think you should cut your right hand off," actor Lee Eshleman, who was playing the role of disciple Andrew, told his partner Ted Swartz as Swartz' Peter plucked out a tone-deaf song on the guitar based on the "Sermon on the Mount."

"It's causing you to sin," Eshleman quipped.

A nearly packed house filled the high school's auditorium to see Swartz and Eshleman trace Peter and Andrew's journey from their calling through the crucifixion of Jesus. The quick one-acts - including Scene Three's "The Day after the Day on the Mount" - were at times reminiscent of Monty Python and Reduced Shakespeare Co. performances, but Swartz and Eshleman also carried off poignant touches, all while miming actions and pretending they were speaking to Jesus and other characters.

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"I have this feeling that we are rapidly moving toward something," Andrew said as he explained a drawing to Peter that showed where all 12 apostles should sit for what would be the Last Supper, in a scene scripted by Leonardo da Vinci.

"I think I know what this drawing is about. It's about all of us together, but for the last time," Andrew said.

Peter's blithe, simpleton spirit also was evident.

"Does everything have to be a teachable moment with this guy?" he said as he and Andrew reacted to the bounty of the loaves and the fishes.

Pastor Joy Zepp of Manor Church of the Brethren in Boonsboro said the church board took a risk when it decided to bring in Eshleman and Swartz in time for Lent, a solemn period of preparation until Easter.

But, Zepp said she knew what she was getting with Ted & Lee. The Shenandoah Valley, Va., duo have performed for previous Brethren conferences.

"Our kids pay attention to what they're saying. We take our kids home, they know these stories," Zepp said.

Pam Jouannet, of Wolfsville, Md., said she enjoys seeing the Bible stories from the comedy company's perspective.

"It brings a whole new light. It gives more humor on Jesus and the joy that he wants us to have," Jouannet said.

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