Bill Murray Takes Biblical Role to Reduce Partisanship

This wasn't your typical online theatrical event

Bill Murray
Bill Murray at Rome Film Fest 2019.
Marilla Sicilia/Archivio Marilla Sicilia/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Bill Murray might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of actors immersing themselves in politics. Then again, the man has played FDR on film and was part of the ensemble cast of Tim Robbins’s politically-charged 1999 film Cradle Will Rock. Murray’s latest acting venture has some political overtones as well, though in this case he’s seeking to bridge partisan differences. And the story he’s involved in telling is very, very old.

The Guardian has the details of an online performance Murray took part in — a reading of The Book of Job. (Murray played Job.) The event was intended for residents of Knox County, Ohio. According to the article, the event was “designed to spark conversation across spiritual and political divides.”

Besides Murray, Frankie Faison and David Strathairn were among the actors taking part in the event. Also involved was Matthew Starr, the Republican mayor of Mount Vernon, a town in Knox County. “That’s the hope for me, is that we get a chance to lean into our faith, we get a chance to lean into our neighbors, we get a chance to lean into each other, our family, a little bit more,” Starr said.

The event was assembled by Theater of War, which produces dramatic readings of plays followed by “town hall-style discussions designed to confront social issues.” The group has held readings of the Book of Job since 2012, under a variety of circumstances. It’s an unexpected blend of art and politics; time will tell if it’s had the desired effect.

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