Eli’s Bethlehem Inn, an original play by Augusta’s Christian theater company, Enopion, won’t be staged in a theater or playhouse, but a dining room.
For seven nights starting Friday through Dec. 2, a room of the Salvation Army’s Kroc Center will be transformed into the Bethlehem inn where Mary and Joseph sought shelter on the night Jesus was born.
Actors and actresses are both performers and wait staff in this play. The $15 tickets include both admission to the show and an interactive dinner, served by the cast.
The inn, of course, has no utensils, but audience members will do well to eat with their hands, said Director Carol Rezzelle.
The menu includes potato soup, chicken skewers and an apple tart.
“It really is like walking into a hotel back in Biblical times,” said Rezzelle, who wrote the play, which was first staged in 2007 for a performance at the Guido Gardens in Metter, Ga.
It’s the first time Eli’s Bethlehem Inn will be performed in Augusta.
The production, which includes several songs and a few dance numbers, was inspired by Medieval Times shows Rezzelle had come across.
“We think people will really enjoy this,” Rezzelle said. “It’s different than most anything else we’ve done. The entire story unfolds around you as you’re eating dinner.”
Bob Rollins plays Eli, the host for the evening.
“It’s really a different take on the nativity story and it does it, in part, with song,” the actor said. “We go from this trivial issue – the inn is full – to the life-shattering event that happens with Christ’s birth.”
All Enopion productions include a presentation of the Gospel.
“It’s perfect,” Rollins said. “Just in time for Christmas. It’s going to be a lot of fun, especially for young people.”