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New take on old story
"The Great Big Gopher Boat" sets Noah's story to music
The cast of "The Great Big Gopher Boat" is shown. The troupe will perform the musical at the Averitt Center in downtown Statesboro on Friday and Saturday.
Eight people, all that are left of humanity, have to learn to live together huddled in a small space for nearly a year. With animals. Lots of them.
    The latest post-apocalyptic thriller on movie screens? Nope, it’s “The Great Big Gopher Boat,” a new musical that will be at the Averitt Center for the Arts this weekend.
    “Gopher Boat” tells the story of Biblical figure Noah and his family. According to scriptures, God, despairing over humanity’s wickedness, gave the world a new beginning with 40 days and nights of rain. The ensuing flood washed away everyone except Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives, who were chosen by God to ride out the flood on an ark with two of every species of animal.
    The musical focuses on how Noah and his family survived a year on the Ark, passing the time working, playing, inventing games, singing and even arguing during the flood and while the waters were receding. It’s aimed for audiences of all ages.
    The play shows that living together wasn’t always easy. In addition to eight personalities, there were hundreds of animals to deal with, said Carol Rezzelle of Enopion Theatre Company, which is producing the show. The story puts a human face on Noah.
    “In every story in the Bible, we tend to think of these people as being ‘special people,’ they must have been something unique that God would choose these people,” she said.
    “They were people just like us. The lesson is that God will use anyone to further his will.”
    Some of the characters have to learn to count on each other and God, she added, in the face of having nearly everyone they knew drowned in the flood.
    “We’ve taken a little bit of artistic liberty in trying to develop a storyline that gives a more human element than what the Bible gives us,” she said. “We don’t take anything out of context, we give personality to the people.”
    Noah’s daughters-in-law are never named in the Bible, so Enopion researchers tried to find authentic names for them.
    The musical has 18 songs, ranging in style from swing to country, hymns to contemporary Christian. It also features a “massive set,” Rezzelle said.
    Statesboro is Enopion’s second stop with the musical. Next they take the play to Aiken, South Carolina.
    “We’re planning to run this musical for at least the next three years, increasing the tour as we move on,” Rezzelle said.
    The musical lasts approximately three hours, with an intermission. Shows are Friday, May 4 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 5 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children or groups of 10 or more. For tickets, call (912) 212-2787.
    Enopion is a Biblical theater company based out of Augusta. The group spent two years setting up “The Great Big Gopher Boat.” For more information about “The Great Big Gopher Boat” and the Enopion Theatre Company, visit their Web site at

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