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I Am Herod

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Losing religion one false beard at a time.

Life of Brian meets the millennials.

Reporting from Inside the Fraying Hem of Christ Himself

On a whim, armchair-atheist Richard Kelly Kemick joins the 100-plus cast of The Canadian Badlands Passion Play, North America's largest production of its kind and one of the main tourist attractions in Alberta. By the time closing night is ov
Paperback, 226 pages
Published October 2019 by Goose Lane Editions
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Janet Hutchinson
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting look into the Badlands Passion Play - the people in it, the people behind it, and Richard's role as Herod. It’s a strange piece of theatre, as are some of the people in it, and the chaos of writing and rewriting the script to fit the actors skills certainly doesn’t help. I’ve never had a desire to see the play - but the book intrigues me just a little bit.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
This was a very amusing and sweet book about acting in the Badlands Passion play in Drumheller, Alberta. I laughed out loud several times and learned a lot. Part of me is amazed that this book got published, not because it is bad, but because it is so incredibly specific. I also felt the story had a universal appeal. It's about questioning, seeking and wanting to be part of something larger.

Richard, the author, decides to act in the Passion Play and is cast as Herod. He tells everyone in the pl
Kari Eliuk
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I find reading modern, real-people-memoirs (as opposed to dead and/or famous-people-memoirs) a bit surreal, as they can be followed up with an internet snoop on those involved. This one was even more surreal for me as I’m friends with many of those people. I found the book amusing, but not laugh-out-loud funny; decently, but not flawlessly written; and relatively gentle with these good-hearted people. I think the most scathing comments were reserved for those who can bear them. I hope Richard co ...more
KB Nelson
Mar 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I purchased this after hearing the author at a reading, it sounded like a pretty funny read. Part-way through reading it I put it down because the whole “losing my religion” them doesn’t interest me. Other than that, the story didn’t seem to be going anywhere. But I’m glad I picked it up again because, yup, it’s pretty darned funny!
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book made me laugh out loud. Pure entertainment (I loved the footnotes!). Great writing and witty comments. A refreshing summer read!
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Technically this is 3.5 stars, but Goodreads doesn't allow for half stars.

Laugh out loud funny, thoughtful, and full of clever observations.

I've worked at the Passion Play myself (in the years of The Best Jesus Ever), so I find this extra funny. Richard captures the sincerity and absurdity and contradictions and beauty of the entire play really well. I expect I probably find it funnier because I wasn't there that same year, and thus not at risk of being mentioned.

It's a great combination of a
John Hanson
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-non-fiction
"This story is about stories -- the ones we tell to make our lives liveable."

When I read the cover, I asked, "Why?" Why would anyone write of such a thing? How could anyone ever be interested in such a recounting? Why should I read it? "It's good," Phil said, so I took his offer, took it home, read the first page, and I couldn't stop. It is funny, but I did not laugh. It is sad, but I did not cry.

Kemick shows humanity through our wanting to be divine. Unlike most non-fiction, this book is not
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lot of LOL moments in this, but some depth too. I've never been that much of a spiritual searcher myself. I think I'm comfortable with my own pseudo-science magic interpretation of the universe, which seems to accommodate any and all new information, so I've never shared Kemick's nee, d to believe anything I don't easily believe. I was confounded by this for much of the book, until near the end, when he talked about mental illness. This to me was an undersold (on the cover and website) aspect ...more
Joy Stalder
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was hooked at “she had hair the colour of a burning bush.”

A very honest and vulnerable look behind the scenes and into the hearts of the performers at the Badlands Passion Play. People outside the theatre community don’t really know how working on a play can challenge the actors far beyond the storytelling and the memorizing - it affects how they see the world, especially when the play confronts their comfortable belief structure, which is the essence of Herod’s journey.

This book has humour a
Jordan Kroeger
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Poising between beliefs, the agony in agnostic is revealed.

This story follows one human’s quest for god. Deep in Canada‘s badlands Richard finds, and joins, what is likely the most passionate passion play still being performed annually. There his agnostic beliefs are challenged as much by nature as the cast. Richard often hides sadness with laughter while exploring his ethics and moral foundations through a unique writing style mixing philosophical criticisms and humour never leaving one in doub
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"I Am Herod" is a heart felt, belly laugh out loud and captivating story about Richard Kemick, along with his dog, Maisy, spending months living out of a tent, rehearsing and acting in a Passion Play right in the Badlands of Alberta.
He writes not only about behind the scene drama but asks some deep and personal faith and fairness questions to those around him and to himself. The answers are poignant and thought provoking.
The story is told so vividly and empathetically, I sometimes thought I was
Nicole DeVenne
Oct 30, 2019 marked it as to-read
I had the honor of meeting Richard today, as he spoke to my creative writing class. He read us a snippet from when his character shares a cheap beer with Jesus, and his comedy (written and his general demeanor) had me hooked. I can't wait to get my hands on this.
Justin Born
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. What a fascinating insight into a bizarre bit of Alberta tourism.
This could have been a somewhat boring ride of Richard making fun of a bunch of crazy people, he found the humanity within this ragtag group of people, so the story ended up having a lot of life.
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Richard Kelly Kemick’s poetry, prose, and criticism have been published in magazines and journals across Canada and the United States, including the Fiddlehead, the New Quarterly, and Tin House (Open Bar).

He has won the poetry prizes of both Grain magazine and Echolocation. He lives in Calgary.

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