Onslow Christian Academy’s (OCA) performance of Pilgrim is Saturday Evening at 6:00 on July 9, 2016. We’d like to get everyone acquainted with the musical, some background, what we’re working on, and how everything is coming along.
The Bridge will keep you up-to-date and share lots more (including what the cast have to say about this play) as we get closer to that night. Follow us and stayed tuned!
Finding this script was a blessing. From Christian Theatre Publications, Pilgrim is a musical adaptation based on Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, written by Janice Landry and Cathy Mays with Evan Ricucci. Thank you!
We have some good young people. Scattering a few photos of a recent rehearsal that you might enjoy.
THE PRODUCTION TEAM
If you know some of us involved in putting together the upcoming production, then you know we’re all kinds of happy to be working with our school students plus the alumni.
Thank you to the Elder (who is also the Chief Administrator) and Sister Jean who allow and make all of this possible. Everyone works close together and brings different talents to the table. Without each other, we would not be able to make the production happen or bring out the best in the students. It’s a team effort.
Sacrifice, work, and an occasional bad spirit are par for the course (we all get tired), but friendships are strengthened, bonds are made, and we get to know and understand each other a little better—which is good. After all, we’re each other’s back-up, and we’re planning to spend eternity together.
I’m grateful to call these amazing people my family.
During the performance, we pray you will experience what we’ve been feeling during rehearsals. As we watch the scenes, a message hits home. Beyond the physical characters and places is something deeper and much more powerful.
They represent the times we suffer in ways we’ll never be able to explain, our failures, our repentance, when we fall and get right back up, our lessons learned, and that day we chose not to take the easy road even though it was tempting—we knew where it led.
They make us remember all the times we win.
A BIG BONUS
It’s pure joy to be with our students and youth as they overcome obstacles and achieve confidence. Success comes when they start believing they can do all things through Christ. The inspiration is amazing to witness, and it happens right in front of us.
We’ve watched them.
They take a deep breath, close their eyes, and step forward prepared to conquer fear as they trust God and support each other. Tremendous joy wells up in all of us and our hearts feel like they’ll explode into a thousand pieces because we know what they just accomplished will follow them a lifetime.
IMPORTANT LESSONS FROM PILGRIM
It’s about making the right choices, about friendships, about trust and loyalty. It’s about not giving up—no matter what you go through.
No matter what you lose.
It’s about staying on the straight path and God providing exactly what you need on your journey. Even when you don’t know He’s there, the Lord is a constant presence and always has His angels and people in the perfect spot along the path.
In Act 1 of Pilgrim, Christian (the main character) gets himself in a precarious situation and totally forgets the Lord is there to help him. A character named Help comes to his rescue and tells him, “The King always puts stepping stones in dangerous places. You just have to look for them!”
Listen to the Ministry
The King puts Evangelist on the path to encourage pilgrims and to give them good counsel and exhortation as they travel to the Celestial City.
Evangelist warns Christian of dangerous people and places that could cost him his spiritual life. When Christian listens to the wrong people and gets off the path, he almost loses his life. He repents. Evangelist, God’s minister, represents God’s mercy as he shepherds Christian back to the straight path, gives him more instruction, encourages him to keep walking, and tells him to continue reading the Book.
PEOPLE AND PLACES
Christian is the main character—he represents all of us who are saved and who found the Straight Gate. The story is about his journey to make it to the Celestial City and the King who is always with him. Though the audience sees the King, the characters do not. They feel Him and hear His voice throughout the journey.
Faithful travels with Christian and is his true, loyal friend. She walks with him on the straight path remaining strong through hardships. She sticks up for him, does whatever it takes to help him, and gives everything to stay by his side.
Hopeful joins Christian on the last half of his pilgrimage to the Celestial City and helps restore Christian’s joy and faith. He remains with him to the river and all the way to the gates of Mount Zion.
Of course the Prince of Evil is there to show us the bad side and what our hearts can be capable of if we don’t fill them with God. Only with the King’s power can we win the internal conflict and destroy this prince once and for all.
When Pilgrim opens, you’ll see teenagers from the City of Destruction and watch Christian’s discontent with them because he knows there has to be more to life. You’ll meet Obstinate, Pliable, Worldly Wiseman, Hypocrisy, Lady Formality, Mr. Superstition, Ms. Liar, and Ms. Gossip.
Atheist, Prosecutor, Judge, Bailiff, and the Flatterer are some more of the characters Christian meets on the path.
The Pilgrim cast will take you to places that look familiar, happy places where you’ll want to stay, and fun places they’ll have to drag you away from.
Then there will be places you’ll wish were far away and hope you never visit again.
The people and places in Pilgrim—they represent God, our Ministry, the people of God, the places of rest and joy He provides along the way, our enemies, our temptations, our battles, and everything we must overcome.
The characters will speak to you way beyond the storyline.
There’s this place along the straight path called The Shepherd’s Mountain. It’s wonderfully refreshing. The Shepherd’s Mountain is where pilgrims celebrate victories with much happiness and joy!
Some practices are serious with our noses to the grind, and others… well, there’s always room for some laughter and fun.
After Christian enters the Straight Gate, Goodwill sends him to the Interpreter’s House to get understanding. With wisdom from the Interpreter, Christian continues the journey.
If pilgrims stick to the straight path and show courage, they’ll come to Palace Beautiful. This palace is situated perfectly for pilgrims to enter into and get peaceful rest. They depart standing firm in the strength of His might, wearing the helmet of salvation, and with the armor of the King.
Then there’s our least favorite place, Doubting Castle, that two pilgrims wish they had avoided. Giant Despair lives here. He captures pilgrims who are weary from walking the straight path.
They are tempted and drawn to how much greener the grass looks on the other side. And, even better, it appears to be going in the exact same direction. The pilgrims cross over and find out too late that this path doesn’t lead to the Celestial City.
It is not the King’s path. Giant Despair owns this lush grass. What happens next? Well let’s just say… there’s a dungeon involved.
NOT EVERYTHING TURNS OUT THE WAY WE IMAGINE.
At the end of Act 1 in Pilgrim, Evangelist gives Christian and Faithful this final warning as they leave him to continue on the path:
“When you feel safe you are in the most danger. Be very careful. Just don’t buy anything… no matter the consequences.”
All who have read Pilgrim’s Progress and those who will see this musical—never forget Vanity Fair. It’s the Worldly City located directly in the center of the straight path. Evangelist cautions Christian and Faithful that it’s coming up on their path to the Celestial City and tells them there is no way to get around it.
They must walk through it.
Vanity Fair is a place without God. It gives no life and can only lead to death.
We have something better.
We have the words of life that are truth, worth remembering, and worth sharing.
One thing I think the entire cast of Pilgrim is taking away from the Vanity Fair scene—as Christians in God’s Church, we can’t beat the world at its own game and we have no desire to compete with its enticements. This quote from Faithful’s song is our response to what the world is trying to sell us:
I BUY THE THINGS THAT REALLY LAST
YOU’D HAVE ME BUY A LIE,
I’M NOT INT’RESTED IN THAT.
I SEEK THE TRUTH THAT LASTS FOREVER
I HAVE NO WISH TO BUY
THINGS THAT COULD LEAD ME FROM MY KING.
As Christian and Faithful arrive at Vanity Fair, they see how this town is upside down to what really matters. The world’s attractions can’t compete with what the King gives despite how vigorously they push their merchandise onto the pilgrims.
The King gives peace, love, hope, joy, and purpose that cannot be bought or copied. What Vanity Fair offers excites today, but is old tomorrow.
They have nothing that lasts.
People in Vanity Fair dress to the nines. They are flamboyant, high-classed, obsessed with worldly possessions, and consumed by fleshly desires. The pilgrims enter Vanity Fair and fight with every ounce in them to get away from the horrible pull and cruelness that runs rampant here.
Hands tightly interlocked, Christian and Faithful stand firm and strengthen their resolve against everything coming after them to lure them off from the path and away from their King.
THE ACADEMIC SIDE
Fellow OCA alumni who grew up reading Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan as a required literature selection in our school, don’t hide. I know you’re out there.
Not trying to drudge up painful memories of homework or dreadful reading assignments, but I have a suspicion—and hear me out ’cause it’s a gut feeling. I have a suspicion that those who picked up the book even if they skimmed, used Cliff notes, barely looked at the title, just… you know what?
Maybe you didn’t regret whatever time you spent on this book.
I know, I know. It was a challenging read as John Bunyan was one, an English writer, and two, he wrote this book around 1678. (If you hung in there and bore with language from the 1600s in England, high-fives all around.) Don’t get me wrong, it was well worth the effort. Buuutt…
The musical adaptation is awesome and revives the message of overcoming and not allowing anything to hinder us on our journey.
Whether you read it or will see us on July 9th, you’ll know why it’s something to behold and something to strive for because nothing in this life is more important than one day meeting the King. At the end of this journey, we’ll be Home.
All of us who are pilgrims passing through this world—we’re really going to reach the Celestial City.
I TAKE IT BACK
I didn’t mean to give John Bunyan such a bad rap. He had an interesting and tough life and was exceptionally gifted. He wrote Pilgrim’s Progress as an Allegory. Every character and every place is a symbol that represents something deeper that has meaning for us.
I certainly don’t have to tell you the Word of God is beautifully written.
It has some of most attractive literary devices like symbolism, allegories, parables, and types and shadows. God didn’t put them there to captivate us with pretty words and stories. He used them to hide truth from the wise and prudent while giving those He called, a clear-eyed view. He made it easy for us to visualize what we need to understand. These tools make us delve deeper into meaning and find the truth.
TOP OF THE LIST
The Bible is our number one principle book that the Chief Administrator of our school ensures every student reads FIRST and FULLY. The Word of God is what we teach, believe, and live. Pilgrim’s Progress is a book we passed down as a part of our OCA heritage that ranks high in our academic curriculum.
HERE AT HOME
In our assembly, the ministry believes in teaching the Word to everyone from the time they are old enough to listen until they are elderly. Children hear and understand a lot more than you think they do. Kids are not stupid and are very capable of learning Biblical teachings and principles and being challenged to gain more knowledge about God. They get their own revelation about God and salvation, just as adults do. And that is the goal.
The truth of the Word impacts every age, gender, race, and person who takes hold of it. We trust God to heal our pain. We come closer to Him through prayer. From young to old, when we are consumed by the fight, the Bible is the armor we put on.
The scriptures have been planted in our hearts and they do the heavy lifting to carry us through tough times.
HONEST TO GOODNESS
When the love and truth of the Gospel is deep inside us, our sincerity will attract others.
In Pilgrim, Christian meets some disingenuous and self-serving people. These types will always be around waiting to take advantage. But Faithful and Hopeful, and others who were loyal and sincere, walked with Christian on the path—they stuck together for the long haul because they loved their King and had a desire to do what’s right.
Young people are attracted to what is straightforward. There’s no doubt they enjoy having fun and good times, but they’re also smart.
They can sense danger talk from the slick, high-energy, smooth-talking pied piper types like Demus, in Pilgrim. He wants them to come see all the silver they can have from a silver mine he found—it’s right over here, uuhh… just off the straight path a little.
They can discern real talk and real people who they can trust and count on. And if one of them can’t, that’s what true friends are for. Friends help each other stay on the right path.
WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART, BELIEVE.
Forget modern analysis and secular criticism—there will always be skeptics in every generation and every place. Remember what Elder said, “It isn’t our job to prove God to anyone who doesn’t believe. We know He is real.” That’s what matters.
We invite you to come, enjoy, and open your heart <3
The message hits home. The conviction is strong.