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Eating Flesh and Drinking Blood: Hearing Jesus While Creating Sweeney Todd

My school is opening our production of Sweeney Todd tonight. It's a show I've struggled with since I first saw it a few years ago. On the one hand, it's horrible, grotesque, violent, and dark. On the other hand, it is all of those things in service of a compelling story with a theme that I truly believe in.  If you're unfamiliar, Sweeney Todd tells the story of a barber named Benjamin Barker who returns to London after escaping an unjust imprisonment overseas. This is during the Victorian era, when transporting criminals out of the country was common enough practice in the British empire. Having been saved from a shipwreck, Barker adopts the name Sweeney Todd and, since it's been 15 years, hopes to find his wife, Lucy, and now teenaged daughter, Johanna, and reestablish his life.  He is almost immediately recognized, however, by a pie shop owner, Mrs. Lovett, who was secretly in love with him before his troubles began, and who kept his barbering tools all these year

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