"The arts steer the culture, and it's time for the people of God to put their hand on the wheel."
So says Sam Cintron, singer, songwriter, sculptor, and painter when discussing Standing in Babylon, his two-act "theatrical concert" recently staged by the Hope Center for the Visual and Performing Arts in Jersey City, New Jersey. A unique blend of song, dance, dramatic monologue, and multi-media, the show is loosely adapted from Cintron's CD of the same name.
"House Arrest" was a high-energy, dramatic catapult into the show. Amidst a stage of televisions hanging from (and in) chains, Cintron makes his entrance in a shackled cage, wheeled onto the stage by dancers in prison uniforms. Visually and lyrically introducing one of the central motifs of the show—the embattled state of God's people and word in a circus culture—the piece, like most of the show, walks a tightrope between strident social critique and optimistic faith that believers still have the power to "be strong, be bold, [and] be holy." As the shackled television screens ironically play a clip from the World's Fair announcing the invention of the television ("a new art, bound to affect all society"), Cintron sings:
I've been on house arrest
By the virtual world.
Feeling like there's no other thing to do.
Oh the countless times,
I've called it family time.
But in reality, I was cutting quality time …
The second act's "The Bride" features Bethany Moxley costumed to resemble Cintron's sculptural piece (also called "The Bride"), where the bride of Christ (the Church) is symbolically depicted as hooked up to life-supporting medical equipment but still under the protection of God. Leading into a performance of Cintron's "Rekindle the Romance," where ...1