Who was this woman who haunted Sampson through Judges 13-16, teasing and seducing him until he gave up the secret of his strength? Was she merely a mercenary of love? (“[W]e will give thee, every one of us, eleven hundred pieces of silver,” to find out Sampson’s weakness, her Philistine employer promised.) Or did she have a deeper connection with Sampson, and mean to bring the Israelites’ super-warrior the gift of common humanity? (If she took advantage of his vulnerability, “then shall I be weak, and be as another man,” Sampson revealed.)
To Kevin McAllister, a creative force behind Baltimore’s ArtsCentric, Delilah is a biblical and historical mystery which yearns to be solved through art. “There was no mention of who Delilah was before she met Samson,” he told DC Theatre Scene. “I found it even more intriguing that there is no mention of what became of her after Samson.”
So to offer a possible solution, he and Cedric D. Lyles created a musical Delilah which tells the story of “of a girl who comes from nothing, gains everything and then loses more than she ever imagined.”
The Washington Savoyards hosts its debut as a staged concert at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Monday, January 14 at 7.30 p.m. The eighteen-member cast includes Jamie Eacker as Delilah, Chris Sizemore as Samson, and Felecia Curry as Psoirah.
McAllister, an actor and singer (Parade at Ford’s, most recently seen in Olney’s Cinderella) as well as a director ( Assistant Director for Ford Theatre’s Fly) and a writer, is certainly not the first artist to be intrigued by Delilah. She played a central role in John Milton’s “Samson Agonistes,” and artists have portrayed her mysterious beauty in painting and woodcuts.
But McAllister’s take is fresh. Delilah, he says, “is a story everyone can relate to when posed with the question – How far will you go for love?”
McAllister, who intends to submit the refined version of the play to the New York Musical Festival, is looking for feedback on January 14.
“For us, this an opportunity to test out a completely new piece of theatre on an audience. After the performance, we will talk to the audience. Inside the program booklet we will have a short form where people will have a chance to express their feelings about the piece, if the person chooses to remain anonymous.”
And where will it go from here? “I have extended invitations to many artistic directors around the area,” McAllister said, “and while I know many are busy, it only takes one to give this piece its wings.”