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Friday, October 30, 2009


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

ENC’s play director Jaqui Parker and Drama Department Head Eunice Ferreira knew they were going “over the line” with a play honoring gods.

“Once on this Island” is no drama production to be presented on a Christian campus, particularly that campus in the tradition of Wesleyan holiness belief and practice.

Countless prayers to gods as well as a night’s sex between two unmarrieds is just part of the play’s plot. Seductive dancing and outright demonic overtones are throughout. Violence—knives held to necks—weaves into the ongoings.

Yet this production had special invitations for children attending.

The play’s printed program gives away the double talk from both director and department head, such printed on page 2.

Play director Ms. Parker writes: “I realized that in all of the productions I have done here, never before had so many people opened up about their faith, about the Lord and about their fears and convictions.”

Sounds okay with “the Lord” mentioned and so forth. Or does it?

When watching the play, one defines “about their faith” as putting front and center faith in other gods. How “the Lord” fits in with that I cannot fathom nor do I try for I know it is double talk in print.

Further, “about their convictions” obviously refers to polytheistic convictions for there is no hint of biblical convictions anywhere in the play.

In addition, “about their fears” could refer to the violence-centered scenes, none of which would coincide with the confidence the Spirit of Christ offers His own. It must then mean the fears engendered by worshiping others gods, that being the only conclusion one could reach.

Ms. Parker goes on: “One Haitian student in the play said though the Gods in the play are not her belief, she was glad that this play was being done because she felt that it spoke to her and the history from which she comes.”

Is that gibberish or what?

The gods in the play do not match up with the Haitian student, but she was glad to have portrayed them for they helped her understand her own religious history, whatever that is. Surely it is not Christian. Does this sentence make any sense?

In other words, Ms. Parker and Ms. Ferreira are masters, or so they must have thought, of pulling the wool over the audiences. Did they not understand that most attending would be from the holiness background held to over years, expecting that college to continue assisting in forthcoming generations?

Ms. Parker continues: “Though this is not a ‘Christian’ play, it does indeed make us ask about our own faith and the consequences of the choices people make. I am very glad to have directed this production and thrilled that ENC was strong and courageous enough to view other cultures and educate using theatre as the vehicle. God bless.”

Will someone please explain this upside down sentence: “Though this is not a ‘Christian’ play, it does indeed make us ask about our own faith and the consequences of the choices people make”?

I have tried to figure out how prayers to other gods and violence and sex between unmarrieds helped me in any way to learn about the “consequences of the choices” I make.

So Ms. Parker is very glad that the college was “strong and courageous enough” to allow the play. “Courageous enough” spells out that trepidation should have been heeded when drama directors first read the play. The conclusion then should have been to have nothing to do with the play for a holiness college.

Finally, the “God bless” as Ms. Parker’s finale does nothing but underline the double talk printed prior. As if “God bless” is going to baptize the play’s reason for being at ENC. As if we the readers of the program and audiences seated in the auditorium are going to forgive all the unforgiveables in the production just because Ms. Parker waves us a final “God bless.”

Now to Drama Department Head Ms. Ferreira: “The vision statement of Eastern Nazarene College was recently rewritten to intentionally embrace the diversity and richness of our metropolitan location and challenge students to locally and globally commit to lives of service.”

What? Come on now, Ms. Ferreria. Surely you think your audience too stupid, true? What do all those juxtapositioned words mean to the intelligent reader?

Regarding the play in particular, inquirers have been notified by the College President Corlis McGee that the college mission statement has not changed. What then is the “vision statement” mentioned by Ms. Ferreria?

Is it in variance to the college mission statement? Are there two statements, one in conflict with the other? Is one holding to past moral and theological commitments while the drama department has another statement going its own way?

I am thoroughly confused at this point. The ENC play program states the “vision statement” is changed. The president states that the “mission statement” has not changed. What’s up with this confusion? Who to believe?

Further, in Ms. Ferreria’s statement in the printed program, does not one’s hair start to rise on the flesh when reading such buzzwords as “diversity” and “richness of our metropolitan area”? After all, the “vision statement was recently rewritten to intentionally embrace the diversity and richness of our metropolitan location. . .”

Then I would like to receive a copy of the “vision statement”? I have requested of the president a copy of the college’s mission statement. Thus far I have not received it.

To back up slightly, considering Boston, what is one to conclude that Quincy’s ENC is up to in siding up to that metro’s milieu and diversity therein?

The sum of it is that both Ms. Parker and Ms. Ferreria were not quite sure if this antiChristian play would fit ENC; nevertheless, they went on with it.

To cover themselves, they had printed on the second page of the program gibberish in hopes that the sleepy attenders would just overlook the travesty endured—and paid for.

If there is ever a repetition of this angst, protesters will be outside Cove Center with posters warning ticket holders, media coverage on hand to inform the world.

Read “Eastern Nazarene College anti-Christian play presented” at