For years, I kept hearing this guy’s name but our paths never crossed until this past weekend, when I got to see Jason Hildebrand’s one-man, three-act performance based on the story of The Prodigal Son, one of many such shows he does throughout Canada and the U.S.
The performance was an outdoor event, a challenge for even the best actors. I’ve been to dozens of the Church in the Park events in my hometown, and I was really surprised at how the crowd was engaged and how Jason even held the attention of many of the children in the audience.
Introducing himself first as the younger son, then the elder son and finally as the father, I found myself listening as though hearing this story for the first time. While on one level, it was a very familiar narrative, but because it’s so rich, no number of sermons can make this story get old.
I was able to speak with Jason after the service. He told me he has been at his craft for 20 years now, and the past 16 of those have been full-time. The program that I saw has also been filmed and was highlighted six years ago in this 8-minute Christian TV feature:
It’s interesting — and a little bit disturbing — to see the audience reaction of people who were unfamiliar with the story of the wayward son and the loving father. He has other productions based on the life of King David, the life of Job and on the book Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. He also uses his training to help others, providing coaching to not-for-profit and commercial organizations.
One of his latest projects is Breathe, a collaboration with musician Mike Janzen based on the book Close Enough to Hear God Breathe (Thomas Nelson) by Greg Paul who pastors Sanctuary, a church in downtown Toronto. Here’s a 2-minute teaser:
There’s another earlier trailer at this link.
On a personal level, I think much of Jason’s work resonates because I know what it’s like to be a one-man ministry. Based in Toronto, he works both sides of the Canada/US border regularly. If you have an upcoming project or an event that would benefit from an element of drama, this would be a great contact.
Learn more at JasonHildebrand.com
Pics: Upper from Jason’s website
Lower: All dressed up to play 2 sons and a father at Victoria Park’s Bandshell in Cobourg, Ontario from Twitter, @jasonhildebrand