Pas­sion Play ac­tor grate­ful for op­por­tu­nity

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - PROFILES - By Heather Cameron

Al­berta ac­tor Aaron Krog­man is once again the face of Je­sus Christ for the Bad­lands Pas­sion Play.

Raised in Red Deer, Krog­man has been in­ter­ested in act­ing since high school. Krog­man ad­mits that he grad­u­ated high school with no idea what to do with his life, but was given the idea for his ca­reer by his fa­ther.

Krog­man is grate­ful for in his ca­reer and is grate­ful for the sup­port of his fam­ily the most be­cause that is what got him started on his cur­rent path. He knows that his par­ents, his wife and chil­dren, and his 95 yearold grand­mother en­joy com­ing to the Pas­sion Play when they can.

“My dad said, “why don’t you try act­ing?” Krog­man says. “He said that he could imag­ine me be­ing on a stage and not long af­ter that, he took me to see a play called ‘God­spell’ at the Rose­bud The­ater in De­cem­ber 2003. There was a stu­dent ac­tor in it and his per­for­mance was so mov­ing that it made me want to do what he was do­ing.”

In the sum­mer of 2004, Krog­man in­ves­ti­gated the Rose­bud School of the Arts in Rose­bud and be­gan at­tend­ing there that fall. He ad­mits that there were lots of things he wanted to do and things he was ex­cited about, but credits his fa­ther as giv­ing him a tan­gi­ble idea to in­vest in.

Krog­man grad­u­ated from the pro­gram in 2008 and then be­gan par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Pas­sion Play in 2011. This year is his fifth time play­ing Je­sus af­ter par­tic­i­pat­ing for seven years and this sea­son is his first one back af­ter taking a hia­tus. When the Pas­sion Play ended its sea­son in 2015, Krog­man and his wife moved to Van­cou­ver so he could pur­sue a Master’s de­gree at Re­gent Col­lege.

“It’s a per­fect de­gree for the kind of work I do cause it’s kind of the in­ter­sec­tion between faith and art,” Krog­man says. “A lot of the time, Rose­bud is faith based and that’s my back­ground as well. I stud­ied what faith has to of­fer the artis­tic process and what thee artis­tic process has to of­fer faith. The Pas­sion Play is a re­ally awe­some of that and so I’m ex­cited to dive back into it.”

Now that Krog­man is back to por­tray­ing Je­sus in the Bad­lands Pas­sion Play, he re­gards do­ing so as an iconic op­por­tu­nity. Although he be­lieves that the role of Je­sus Christ is iconic and dif­fi­cult to do jus­tice with, as many peo­ple have dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences with that role, it is an honor to em­body it in a way that reaches au­di­ences. Ul­ti­mately, Krog­man feels that por­tray­ing Je­sus has taken him on a deep jour­ney.

Re­fer­ring to the play as a ‘wave of in­ter­est’ that at­tracts peo­ple, Krog­man is truly grate­ful for the priv­i­lege that he feels be­ing in the play is.

“I get to see the sig­nif­i­cance of the char­ac­ter of Je­sus in the re­ac­tions of peo­ple to what I’m do­ing as an ac­tor,” Krog­man says.

“I see it in the choices I’m mak­ing and in the se­quences in the play where I heal peo­ple. Although it’s the­atre and I am not heal­ing any­one for real, the re­ac­tions truly mean some­thing to me; it’s the re­ac­tions of the peo­ple to me putting my hand on their head and now sud­denly they can see they’re the ones that are ac­tu­ally do­ing the act­ing that sells. I feel so served by the cast.”

Krog­man thinks that a lot of peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate mo­ments that they get to feel a great char­ac­ter and can iden­tify with cer­tain mo­ments of the play. He be­lieves that seeing sort of grace and compassion that Je­sus gets to show to Peter is a strong mo­ment for the au­di­ence.

“I’m moved by it be­cause I also need grace,” Krog­man says. “You know, it’s a strange thing to be em­body­ing and por­tray­ing the grace that’s of­fered when I know that I’m a per­son who needs that. It’s an in­ter­est­ing thing, but I think it’s also some­thing that we ought to do for each other too. Like, we all need a lot of grace and it’s a priv­i­lege to get to por­tray that kind of ef­fect in a play.”

Krog­man says that the Bad­lands Pas­sion Play in­vokes a great deal of imag­i­na­tion in peo­ple and be­lieves imag­i­na­tion is prob­a­bly the most amaz­ing thing that hu­mans have ac­cess to in their ex­pe­ri­ences of life. Imag­i­na­tion, he says, is why story, mean­ing, and even en­ter­tain­ment has the value it has; it’s the abil­ity to see what we can’t see or think. Krog­man says that the whole con­cept of imag­i­na­tion is the ca­pac­ity to see what is there but is hard to see.

“I think as sto­ry­tellers we kind of get to prac­tice en­abling peo­ple to see them­selves in ways that maybe they aren’t likely to, but in ways that are ac­tu­ally re­ally help­ful,” Krog­man says. “If au­di­ences can iden­tify with some part of the story we’re telling, they en­joy it more.”

Krog­man says that be­ing in such a creative ca­reer is like a la­bor of love and in­volves get­ting to know a re­ally cool com­mu­nity of peo­ple. Since such a ca­reer doesn’t of­fer spec­tac­u­lar pay, Krog­man says that he and other thes­pi­ans live more simply than most, but find the sac­ri­fices worth it do­ing what they love to do.

“I think the most im­por­tant piece of be­ing part of any the­ater ef­fort is to re­al­ize that you’re part of a com­mu­nity of peo­ple who are all giv­ing a ton and even sac­ri­fic­ing to be there,” Krog­man says.

In ad­di­tion to act­ing, he has also in­vested his creative en­er­gies into teach­ing the­atre, film mak­ing, and doc­u­men­tary cre­ation in places in­clud­ing King’s Univer­sity, Prairie Bi­ble In­sti­tute, and Rose­bud School of the Arts. Krog­man thinks it’s very ful­fill­ing to par­tic­i­pate in sto­ry­telling in as many ways as he can; the va­ri­ety is a way to de­velop his craft and also pur­sue open­ing peo­ple’s eyes to their imag­i­na­tions.

“The ad­vice I would give to like a start­ing ac­tor is, if you get the priv­i­lege of be­ing part of a com­mu­nity of peo­ple that are telling a story, serve it and spend your­self in the ser­vice of it with you,” Krog­man says.

“The­ater is one of those places where the more you give of your­self, the more you get in re­turn. It’s pretty spe­cial to be a part of the the­ater com­mu­nity; it’s a legacy that pre­dates me and I’ve been priv­i­leged to ride the wave of it.”


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