LANCASTER, Pa. — Four years in the making, the production “David” opened at Sight & Sound Theatres this year and explores the journey of an unassuming shepherd boy who became a king.
Based on the biblical account of David, who killed a Philistinegiant and later became the king of Israel, The Christian Post attended the musical event that was performed on the theatre's 300-foot panoramic stage. The performance features modern special effects and music inspired by the book of Psalms.
"I think David's life is huge, so it just was a big challenge to try and distill it down,” Ryan Miller, the show's producer, told The Christian Post. “How do you get this into two hours and 15 minutes? Especially with all of the things in his life, those are just really cool themes. You have worship, and you have being a king, and being a godly leader, or a not godly leader, and the fear of the Lord, and so many really cool things.”
As much as it's cliché, what struck Miller most was that David was a man after God's own heart. As he began to research and produce the show, it was the one thing that began to rise to the surface.
David is portrayed as a "master poet, fearless warrior, anointed king, from still waters to shadowed valleys. David's ascent to the throne is filled with towering giants, wild animals and Philistine soldiers. After unprecedented victories lead to devastating failures, this passionate warrior will face the biggest battle of all: the one within himself," according to the show's synopsis.
All Sight & Sound productions feature original content inspired by biblical accounts.
"Just a few months into the process, I had read first and second Samuel probably four times by then and all of his Psalms several times,” Miller told CP.
While reading the texts, he soon realized that David “definitely had a different way of relating to the Lord that I haven't even really seen modeled and I know I don't have.”
“So trying to discover what that was, and then trying to bake it into a show was the goal, while still keeping all the fun, action-adventure, and big spectacular moments that people are also expecting,” Miller said.
The grandson of Sight & Sound founder Glenn Eshelman revealed that he was mostly worried about how to portray the scandals in David's life.
"Everyone sees things through their own life experiences and belief systems and all of that," he added. "When you have this many people coming to experience something, you just want to be so careful and honoring to people and their experiences, and also honoring to the characters and the scriptures and the Lord and all of that. It did feel really heavy, but I feel like we walked through it with a lot of prayer, a lot of studying, and then a lot of just people.”
Miller and his team consulted with counselors who've walked through similar situations as those reflected in Davids's life.
"There's such a freedom here that I don't feel this pressure to be [like anyone else], trying to just do exactly what they did. There really is a lot of freedom to seek the Lord and be you and do the best you can within the groundwork that's been laid. And it's so freeing and life-giving to be able to do it because I think they are some major shoes to try and fill," he said, adding that if he was under pressure to create a show as someone else would, "it just would not work.”
The major theme displayed throughout the performance of “David” was his heart to seek the Lord and make right with God when he sinned. The storyline, his battles with Goliath and other giants, and his downfall with Bathsheba captivated the audience throughout the performance.
"Even if you grew up in church, I think you're going to come and still experience this really cool roller coaster of a ride and actually be surprised,” Miller said.
For Miller, he's also carrying on the legacy of his grandfather, who he described as “a huge cheerleader for the story team and other people in the company.”
For more than four decades, Sight & Sound has provided biblically-based entertainment for over 25 million people at their locations in Lancaster and Branson, Missouri. In the last 10 years, the company has started filming its live shows and has released performances on DVD. The production also launched a streaming channel and announced their newest venture Sight & Sound films.