Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Reflections on "Joseph and his many-coloured Dreamcoat" – Reynolds

"Joseph And His Many-Coloured Dreamcoat" is the best thing Andrew Lloyd Webber ever wrote!

I like the way the songs mimic various styles, like the cowboy lament, or Rudy Valee, Maurice Chevalier, and of course Elvis. They're well done, music and words, and also the arrangements.

The reviews recognize this. They have given the musical high praise. But I've read none that has emphasized the point of the play. One review implied that it was a fun bit of froth that had no substance or even a story line.

Well, whoever said that has never read the Bible.

The story of Joseph is a great story, one that has captured the imagination of people down through the centuries. Both Freud and Erich Fromm had a go at Joseph's dreams. And the story is told amazingly well in the words of the songs. "It's all there in Genesis 39!" You can look it up—Genesis chapter 37 and following chapters.

The story tells us that the purposes of God cannot be thwarted, even in the face of human perversity, and that dreams do come true. Dreamers, like Joseph, are often the instruments of God. Through them and through their dreams the purposes of God for humanity are often achieved. "But the Lord was with Joseph, and kept faith with him." (Genesis 39:21)

The Bible, after all, is a book of stories, the stories of the acts of God in creation, judgment and redemption, and in a final consummation. It is about a dream, a dream that God has placed deep in the human heart, a dream of a time and place of justice and peace, which Jesus spoke of as the rule or the kingdom of God.

It is the dream of a time when "they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” It is the dream of Israel, a land where "they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid!" (Micah 4:3-4)

Isn't it a dream that each one of us holds deep down? Joseph is you and me, our hopes and dreams, and the hope, the possibility, the faith, that they may come true.

Close every door to me, keep those I love from me,
Children of Israel are never alone.
For we know we shall find our own peace of mind,
For we have been promised a land of our own!


Peter Black said...

Alan, thank you for these insightful reflections. Well-paced and beautifully put.

Alan said...

Thank you, Peter

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