Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010

Allegorical Fantasy With Acacia

Acacia Theater Company presents THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS

By Russ Bickerstaff
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A 17th Century Christian allegory, the 1673 novel The Pilgrim’s Progress was written in prison. British author John Bunyan had been branded “a witch, a Jesuit [and] a highwayman.” He was locked-up a couple of times for preaching without a license from the government. As barbaric as such an imprisonment my seem by contemporary standards, it’s nice to know that the government was at least okay with giving Bunyan some time to write . . . 

The full title of the story was The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come. It’s been translated into nearly every language. Not long ago, contemporary playwright Tom Key wrote a stage adaptation of the story. The final weekend of this month, Acacia Theatre Company stages its production of that play.

The story follows an Everyman-type character as he journeys from “the City of Destruction,” (that’s the world we all live in) to the “Celestial City,” (a place better known as heaven.) The story plays out something like a fairy tale—a magical fantasy story deeply rooted in Christianity. Characters in the story include Prudence, Piety, Envy Superstition and, “Mr. By-Ends.”

Key’s contemporary theatre adaptation begins as the Everyman, “crashes into the theater via the sound booth or through an emergency exit.” He’s not conscious of being onstage—evidently cetin that the whole experience is a dream. It’s a 90-minute journey. Precisely how it’s tackled this time will be up to director Dustin J. Martin. Martin’s perspective on the story sounds interesting. “This adaptation effortlessly blends modern life with the classic story, combining the language and costumes of both the 17th and 21st centuries.” says Martin,  “The language will be poetic, and the scenes will include modern experiences.”

Acacia Theatre’s production of The Pilgrim’s Progress runs October 29th – November 7th. This includes an 8pm October 31st performance. 

 

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