Christian Theater & Lancaster County

15 May

“Daniel” was being performed at Sight & Sound’s Millennium Theater in Lancaster, PA.

On Tuesday, Sarah and I went on a bus trip with Seniors in Action to see “Daniel”, a production put on by Sight & Sound. S&S’s mission is to “spread the gospel through live theater.” Midway through the matinee performance, I realized that I was sitting in the $50 theatrical version of a tract. But since we were given the tickets for free, I guess I couldn’t complain.

The infamous Lion & Lamb statue/fountain. There were no lions lying down with lambs in the lion’s den onstage though.

Having seen this theater group’s production of “Daniel” several years ago, I noted that changes had been made to the plot line including more “gospel” and giving Daniel’s boyhood love interested, Miriam, a bigger role. At one point Daniel and Miriam reunite in the stone quarry of Babylon. Miriam doesn’t want Daniel to touch her or look at her because she’s so ashamed of being raped repeatedly by the overseers (the word “rape” is never used though). She says that she can’t feel God anymore and Daniel prays for her. Later on, Daniel sees her again when she is given a position by the king and queen as the overseer of aid to the widows and orphans. Miriam proudly exclaims how God has healed her. Anyway in the audience who had been sexually abused probably cringed as much as I did. Ah, if only it where that easy.

A tour bus in the parking lot. Because we wouldn’t want go to on one of those pagan tours, would we?

Daniel seemed hyped up on caffeine and Prozac. I mean, hey, he’s taken into captivity and he’s like, “It’s OK, guys! God is with us!” Although at first he truly seems bummed out by the whole captivity thing and being taken away from his family. Other than that Daniel is a goody goody who NEVER does anything wrong. Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego come across as bumbling idiots who are only able to withstand the razzle dazzle of Babylon because of Daniel’s example. Of course, in the end, they do whole fiery furnace while Daniel’s away on business.

You know you’re in Lancaster County when a horse and buggy go rolling through the parking lot.

The old guy sitting next to me, who I referred to as “my handsome date” (he loved that) seemed to enjoy the production as did everyone else on the trip, except me. Naturally, I smiled and said I loved it. I also commented on how much I enjoyed the live animal actors (I did). Still my heart felt sad by the whole thing–$50 for a ticket of a mediocre production that lacked good music, depthy lyrics, and poor vocals. The thing is a lot of people enjoyed it and I bet they felt encouraged in their faith. I’m sure people have come into a relationship with the Living God through the gospel presentation at the end, and for that I praise God. I’m not saying that what Sight & Sound is doing is wrong or unbiblical…it’s just something I don’t enjoy, and I wish I did.

No matter how many times I see ’em, I still get a kick out of them. Isn’t that a gorgeous horse?

While the theater was beautifully decorated and constructed, the set was lavish, and the audience was full, I felt so dead inside. I believe that Christians should be involved in the arts and do things excellently for the glory of God, and yet I wished I was watching Wicked instead. I also didn’t post about this experience because I didn’t want the person who gave me the tickets to feel hurt or that they were unappreciated–they weren’t. I had a great time with the seniors and we went to Shady Maple Smorgasbord, which is always good eats.

Yes, I was in the flower market taking pictures!

The root of my conflict probably rests in the portrayal of Daniel as the happiest guy in the world. I understand having joy and faith in all circumstances, but to me, Daniel was so unrealistic. I almost wanted the lions to devour him in the pit because he was so annoying. Just because Daniel was a righteous man who prayed, loved, and trusted God doesn’t mean he was incapable of complex emotion. The Bible isn’t so black and white–Daniel is good; Saul is bad; David is good; Jezebel is bad and so on and so forth. It becomes really complex when good characters like Noah, “a man of the vine”, get drunk and naked. That doesn’t fit as nicely in a children’s story though. Of course, the disciples are bumbling idiots who some how get it together after Jesus ascends into Heaven. Though Peter denied Christ we forget that he was the first who who proclaimed Jesus as “the Christ” and that he was named Peter by Jesus because the church would be built on “the rock”.

This is the other way you can tell you’re in Lancaster.

I can’t be like the Daniel portrayed in the Sight & Sound production. I’m not even close. Heck, in that whole production I identified most closely with the half-crazed, power hungry kings. Ironically, I bet most of the people in the audience, if they were honest with themselves, would feel the same way. The “put on the happy face” version of Christianity just doesn’t work for me, or for anyone really. I would love to see a play about the life of Daniel that was sincere, real, and a little less sparkly. I mean, really, I don’t think the palace guards wore sequins…it’s not really manly, is it?  It doesn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of the enemies, unless they’re the guy and gal from What Not to Wear.

Our tour group–they were awesome! I totally want to join the seniors group at church…but I have to be 60.

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No Responses to “Christian Theater & Lancaster County”

  1. gavin May 15, 2008 at 3:11 PM #

    ah lancaster..

  2. gavin May 15, 2008 at 3:11 PM #

    ah lancaster..

  3. Myalou May 15, 2008 at 3:33 PM #

    ACTUALLY YOU ONLY NEED TO BE 50!

  4. Myalou May 15, 2008 at 3:33 PM #

    ACTUALLY YOU ONLY NEED TO BE 50!

  5. anonymous May 16, 2008 at 2:46 AM #

    Thanks for your great review (and photos).

  6. anonymous May 16, 2008 at 2:46 AM #

    Thanks for your great review (and photos).

  7. Jeff Greathouse May 16, 2008 at 5:17 AM #

    We love seeing the horse / buggies/ fields. Living in Amish Country will give that to you.

  8. Jeff Greathouse May 16, 2008 at 5:17 AM #

    We love seeing the horse / buggies/ fields. Living in Amish Country will give that to you.

  9. anonymous July 5, 2008 at 7:49 AM #

    When i actually saw it, i felt something and i wanted to see it again. So i might come back with my family durin the summer to see something else again!!

  10. anonymous July 5, 2008 at 7:49 AM #

    When i actually saw it, i felt something and i wanted to see it again. So i might come back with my family durin the summer to see something else again!!

  11. Jill Pritt October 21, 2008 at 12:12 PM #

    I am interested in what is being played at the Sights and Sound theatre and or the Milenium theatre in the next 6 months

    Thanks
    Jill

  12. Jill Pritt October 21, 2008 at 12:12 PM #

    I am interested in what is being played at the Sights and Sound theatre and or the Milenium theatre in the next 6 months

    Thanks
    Jill

  13. Amy October 21, 2008 at 3:40 PM #

    Jill, you probably want to check their websites! I’m sure they have all the listings there. I know their Christmas shows are coming up.

  14. Amy October 21, 2008 at 3:40 PM #

    Jill, you probably want to check their websites! I’m sure they have all the listings there. I know their Christmas shows are coming up.

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