June 16, 2024

Jonathan Blair, sophomore film studies major, and Sarah Pearce, director and CBU alumna, discuss lines and blocking during rehearsal. “Pursued: A Jonah Story” premieres Feb. 20 at Riverside Woman’s Club. Gray Bell | Banner

The biblical story of Jonah has been told many times, but a local theater director and California Baptist University alumna Sarah Pearce is putting a new spin on it.

The musical production, “Pursued: A Jonah Story,” is a retelling that takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting. The land of Dalaytha, based on Ninevah, is a country ruled by the evil Zoresh people. The main character, Jonas, whose character is based on Jonah, is a Dalaythan resistance fighter who is called by God to preach repentance to the Zoresh, but instead he runs. Even though he runs away from God’s calling, God pursues him relentlessly.

Pearce, CBU alumna, is directing the show and is no stranger to the stage. Since 1993, she has performed in more than 50 plays, as well as worked on the technical and production side for more than 25 more.

“This (show) isn’t about a whale,” Pearce said. “This is about timeless themes as relevant in the 21st century as they were in the days of Ninevah.”

Dr. Daniel Blair, assistant professor of deaf studies at CBU, plays multiple roles in the show. His main role is an antagonist named Slaver.

He is also joined by his two children who have roles in the show. Jonathan Blair, sophomore film studies major, plays Jonas.

“It’s just a powerful story about how God calls this man, and even though he is unwilling and carries so much anger with him, God still pursues him,” Jonathan Blair said.

The music is composed by Amy Muthersbaugh and orchestrated by Daniel Semsen. Pearce said that while the music plays a major role in driving the story and helping the audience understand a character’s heart, the songs are truly written as worship songs.

“I would love the audience to, upon leaving the play, have a better understanding of who God is and how he so desperately loves his people and wants to actively commune with them,” Pearce said.

Tickets can be purchased for $15 on www.goldleaftheatreproductions.com or by phone at 951-398-1105. The show begins Feb. 20 and will be held at Riverside Woman’s Club.

Leave a Reply