When we, humans, are given great power, even the best of us can and will be corrupted, disrupting the bonds we build with our loved ones; hurting the very ones we love.
Sh’wul was a simple farmer who was chosen to be the first king of the 12 disunited tribes of the Chosen People of YHWH. The enormous power given a king eventually corrupts Sh’wul’s character, making him prideful, arrogant, and defiant of the exacting commands of YHWH – the very God who chose him to be king. The old Prophet Sh’muel declares that Sh’wul has lost the good favour of God and that a new and more worthy king will have to be chosen. Traumatized, Sh’wul resorts to alcohol and substance abuse, as he descends into mental ill-health.
Meanwhile, the Voice of YHWH leads the Prophet Sh’muel to the 15-year-old David – a boy unloved and unwanted in his father's house for reasons, he presumes, has something to do with his mother’s “sins of the past”. David lives alone in the wilderness where he tends to his father’s sheep. To keep himself entertained, he sings and plays music on his makeshift lyre (kinnor). He says he also talks to YHWH, the invisible God of the tribes of the Chosen People.
The Voice of YHWH tells the Prophet to anoint the young shepherd as the new king. David is reluctant of the Divine Commission, stating the obvious that he was a nobody with no skills. Eventually, David perceives this as an opportunity to do something important. Because he is anointed, he is some sort of messiah.
Unbeknownst to David, it would take another 15 years before the prophecy is fulfilled. In that time David kills a giant, is declared a hero, marries the princess, is almost murdered by the jealous and mentally disturbed King Sh’wul, is forced to live in self-exile, becomes despondent, becomes a gangster, works for the enemy king as a mercenary, marries six women, sires many children, becomes a tribal chieftain until finally, and only because the incumbent king commits suicide, David is crowned king.
By now, David’s life skills include being a cunning strategist, a blood-thirsty warrior, a charismatic leader of men with a tendency to be Machiavellian in his political moves. To capitalize on the fulfilment of the prophecy, David builds an impressive empire with great intent.
In his pursuit of this mega-destiny, he begins to lose sight of his anointing, focusing instead on his ever-growing kingly powers. When he is captivated by the alluring, Bat Sheva, King David commands that she be brought to him. Soon after Bat Sheva falls pregnant. To spare the woman from condemnation and to save his royal reputation, David orders the murder of Bat Sheva's husband. King David then marries the widow, Bat Sheva. Tragically, their baby boy dies seven days after his birth – the beginning of a morbid chain of Divinely orchestrated consequences brought about by his sins of adultery and murder.
Also, as King David has become so preoccupied with affairs of the state, his fathering of his sons and heirs becomes inconsequential. When his heir apparent, the irresponsible Amnon rapes his own half-sister Tamar, King David fails to redress the situation. Taking matters into his own hands, Tamar’s brother Absalom murders Amnon. As a consequence of his crime, Absalom is exiled for two years. Upon his return, the embittered Absalom leads an insurrection to dethrone his own father. This time, King David commands that the insurrection be quelled. Absalom is executed in the name of justice. Absalom was, in fact, David’s favourite son.
David’s reign of forty years was hailed as great by his own people as well as his enemies. But by the sunset of his life, David had become only a shadow of his warrior self – he had a tremor in his hand, his feet would drag, his sense of balance was compromised, and he suffered from bouts of hypothermia. David’s glorious days of kingship were coupled with endless heartache caused upon him by his own family. Since becoming king, David rarely made music - he had court musicians to do that for him.
At his deathbed, David commands that his son, Sholomo, his second son by Bat Sheva, be crowned the next king. "Sholomo" means peace.
Years ago, my impression of the David whom I knew of from the Bible was this sweet, young, socially awkward boy who apparently grew up into this beautiful hunk, whom God Himself called a “man after My own heart.” Therefore, to my mind, he was incorruptible. Picture perfect. I was in love! To later learn that he had quite an array of foibles, failures and deplorable crimes to his name made me wonder if I had a secret attraction to bad boys. No. It was a strange admiration for a man who refused to let anyone, or anything stop him from completing a task assigned to him. It was great respect for a man who remained faithful to his God despite the countless tragedies that weighed his life down. It was an irrational attraction to a man who kept loving and giving love to others, despite being deprived of human love himself as he was growing up. I was and am in awe of a man who was miles away from being perfect, and yet achieved greatness.
iMPERFECT Messiah development through the years.
Beth, inspired by Staging Director Peter Read's commitment to the project, re-designed the Staged Reading concept by segmenting the mounting of the scenes into weekly showcases, captured on video. The result is an incubator project towards The iMPERFECT YouTube Series.
I described the campaign as "unnerving" and "nerve-wracking", not to mention, "difficult". But in the end, it felt like finally reaching the summit...
July 3, 2022, Sunday , Les Bell Pavilion our audition workshop started on time
Yesterday's Audition-workshop Highlights by Beth Mondragon-Williams , writer and co-director. So I was prepared to have only two, Instead I had seven participants in the Seymour audition-workshop! I was pleased.