Allegory. Adapted by Tom Key from the book by John Bunyan.
Cast: 4m., 3w. with doubling. May be expanded to 6m., 6w., 12 either gender. John Bunyan's 17th-century classic Christian allegory is the story of a dream in which the hero, a man named Pilgrim, escapes the City of Destruction and starts a search for the City of God. The book begins, "As I walk'd through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where … I laid me down … to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a Dream. I dreamed, and behold I saw a Man cloathed with Rags … a Book in his hand, and a great Burden upon his back." The play begins in the manner of a religious drama with actors entering wearing robes, holding candles and chanting Bunyan's opening narration. It is as if a serious production of Murder in the Cathedral or Everyman were beginning. But then Pilgrim crashes into the theater via the sound booth or through an emergency exit. Not conscious of the action on stage, he speaks to the audience as though they are in a dream he is having and from which he is trying to awake. He tells them that in this dream he has lost his clothes and that is why he is dressed in these rags he has found backstage, and that he can't get this enormous backpack off. He is actually the "Man" described in Bunyan's dream. Then the actors slam the "Book" into Pilgrim's stomach, and he is suddenly caught up in the action. He opens the book, and what he reads transforms his vision of reality. Convinced his present life is doomed for catastrophe, he flees his home in search of the everlasting world which is to come. Pilgrim's travels to the Celestial City take him through such iconic destinations as the Slough of Despond, the Castle of Giant Despair and Vanity Fair. He fails often, stumbles through on grace, struggles through mental and physical tests, goes on alone, and learns how to go forward with a true friend, always showing us how terrifying and exhilarating is the experience of becoming human. Area staging. Approximate running time: 90 minutes.