I was in Year 7 and school captain, so putting up my hand to play Jesus in the Easter pageant at school seemed like a natural extension of my duties. The only problem was, of course, that I was a little bit fatter than Jesus would have been when he was led to be crucified.
Turns out my historically inaccurate paunch led some True Believers in the school yard to question my selection as the Son of God. Luckily they didn't know I was gay then too, because that would have thrown the integrity of my performance into disrepute.
I wasn't morbidly obese or anything, but I certainly wasn't living on a diet of only loaves and fishes. I asked if I could wear a Billabong t-shirt while I was on the cross. My request was briefly accepted before an over-riding panel of theologians decided this would be inconsistent with the message of Christ's suffering and damned if they were going to preside over the first fully clothed crucified Jesus in the history of its theatrical depiction at the school.
I asked myself: What Would Jesus Do? The answer was 'wear a loincloth thing and be crucified' so that didn't really help me either.
Look, I'm not complaining about wanting to get the tenor of the moment right. But I do recall the year before Jesus was wearing a Swatch Watch so they couldn't have been all that bang-up about 'the tone of the piece'.
The year before we also had a real donkey to do the travelling scenes (Fast and Furious eat your heart out) but my year due to budget constraints (and the lady who owned the donkey moving house) we had to downsize to a Year 4 student.
Does that destroy the artistic merit of the piece? Certainly. So I wasn't quite sure how my portrayal of (Fat) Jesus was going to be any worse. I even had my 'forgive them Father, for they know not what they do' down pat and it was moving damn it. It was a real scene stealer.
So I ended up doing the scene without a shirt to some critical acclaim. It's amazing how pronounced hanging from a makeshift cross will make your fat rolls look.
A Year 4 girl came up to me after the play and said, rather bluntly: "That's not what Jesus looked like. And he didn't talk like that. You had a lisp!"
Still in character, I replied with a simple 'don't make me smite you' except it sounded like 'thmite you'...the kind of punishment you receive from the most fabulous gay in the world. Probably involving glitter. And ponies!
On the third day, according to the Bible, Jesus rose again. My theatrical resurrection followed a similar thematic course in that it took me roughly three days to stop crying so hard that I could see straight.
And on that note, Happy Easter.
My acting soul, somewhere out there, is reviving itself. Probably not for the best.