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Granite Creek presents its annual Living Nativity

by Andrew Alonzo | aalonzo@claremont-courier.com

Granite Creek Community Church’s 20th annual Living Nativity is currently in production nightly on the church grounds. The play tells the story of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem to Mary. The show includes approximately 30 actors and 15 animals while another 15 volunteers work in tandem each night to put on the interactive spectacle, according to Granite Creek pastors Michael Jones and Josh Kapchinsky.

This year’s script was written by Jones, who didn’t hold back when showing what life was like under King Herod — even having Herod, played by Dean Little, yell to all his decree that all newborns and male children must be killed.

“We wanted to show what life looked like in the first century and the oppression people had under the Roman rule. We wanted to show a scene that yes, took place in the first century, but we can relate to today,” Jones said. “People felt fear for their families, the loss of hope, things not going right in the government or in the world are all things we can relate to today.”

Each of the production’s four unique sets were constructed by the church’s creative director Jim Logiudice and featured a grand centerpiece constructed from Styrofoam that took days to build. When the rain and wind came Tuesday, a few prop buildings were blown down, so the crew had to scramble to put everything back together. However, the work did not take too long and they used the storm to their advantage by repurposing tree debris left from the storm into the scenes.

Kapchinsky said the third scene is a crowd favorite because it features the “bad guy” Herod and includes the king’s encounter with the three Magi.

“This one’s a little different than our previous years … This tyrannical dictator, he’s obviously mean and tyrannical, but Michael wrote him in as also being very insecure. He has an internal dialogue about ‘are they going to take all my stuff away from me?’” Kapchinsky said.

This year’s Nativity was very different from the drive-through version the church produced last year due to COVID-19 restrictions. With more relaxed guidelines and higher vaccination numbers in 2021, spectators were welcome to walk through the interactive story about the birth Jesus.

In addition to the play, visitors can also enjoy food, shopping at booths featuring local vendors and a petting zoo featuring a camel, sheep, chickens and pigs.

The Living Nativity continues through Sunday, December 19, with shows at 5 and 8 p.m. nightly. The producers recommend dressing in warm clothes as the play takes place outdoors. The Nativity and parking are free but visitors must register for tickets on their Eventbrite page. The church is located at 1580 N. Claremont Blvd.

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