I Am HerodBook - 2019
Shortlisted, Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction
On a whim, armchair-atheist Richard Kelly Kemick joins the 100-plus cast of The Canadian Badlands Passion Play , North America's largest production of its kind and one of the main tourist attractions in Alberta. By the time closing night is over, Kemick has a story to tell. From the controversial choice of casting to the bizarre life in rehearsal, this glorious behind-the-scenes look at one of Canada's strangest theatrical spectacles also confronts the role of religion in contemporary life and the void left by its absence for non-believers.
In the tradition of tragic luminaries such as David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Goldstein, and David Sedaris, I Am Herod gives its congregation of readers unparalleled access to the players of the Passion: there's Judas, who wears a leather jacket even when it's 30˚C; the Chief Sadducee, who is ostracized for his fanaticism; Pilate, the only actor who swears; the Holy Spirit, who is breaking ground as the role's first female actor; and the understudy Christ, the previous year's real-deal Christ who was demoted to backup and now performs illicit one-man shows backstage.