On November 6, 2015, our church seniors group attended Wasserman, Darion, and Leigh’s classic musical “Man of La Mancha” in the Berry Performing Arts Center at John Brown University. JBU’s Music and Theatre departments did an outstanding job producing and presenting it.
When I watch a play or movie, I normally remain objective because I want to see what is going on. (Yes, I am the perennial critic.) That means I usually do not get emotionally involved with the story line first time around. And because I normally remain objective, I will see a movie or play twice or more if I like it. The second or third time is when I actually enjoy the story.
The original story (Man of La Mancha) was written in two volumes in 1605 and 1617 by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra; and was titled El Ingenioso Hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha (in English: The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha). La Mancha means “the stain”; but the origin possibly comes from the Moors’ influence and was probably “al-mansha” – which is: dry land, or wilderness. Therefore, the title should be: The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote from the Wilderness.
The story is about the adventures of Alonso Quixano (pronounced Kihano). He read so many romantic stories that “he loses his sanity and decides to set out to revive chivalry, undo wrongs, and bring justice to the world.” He talked a farmer, Sancho Panza, into going with him as his squire. In the first part of the book, Don Quixote doesn’t see the world for what it is, and imagines that he is a knight in shining armor. And there are no songs in the book.
But the musical was written in 1972, and, of course, included songs. I read the book decades ago, but watched the musical seven years ago. When the orchestra began playing the theme song, I leaned over to Carol and asked, “Andy Williams?”
Carol said, “Yes.”
That was a surprise. I heard Andy sing “The Impossible Dream” for years, yet I never knew the origin of the song. When I went home and studied the words, it began to make sense. Here are the words from the brochure, written by Joe Darion in1972:
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star
This is my quest, to follow that star,
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far
To fight for the right without question or cause
To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause
And I know if I’ll only be true to this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I’m laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this
That one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To fight the unbeatable foe, to reach the unreachable star
The words haunted me for some reason. Reading them over and again, I began to softly sing them. But as I sang, the reason for the mystical feeling began to slowly sink into my mind. In awe of the message, I stopped singing and sat down. I don’t know if Joe Darion was a Christian, but in my mind, those words speak of one man, and one man only. That song is a sermon about our Lord – Jesus Christ.
Jesus fought and conquered the unbeatable foe. He bore the unbearable sorrow. He righted the unrightable wrong. He created the unreachable stars. He gave His life for the right without questioning. He marched into hell for His heavenly cause. Jesus was scorned and was covered with scars. And the world is, indeed, better because of all that Jesus did, and all that He is. No man, and no group of men, could ever do for us what Jesus did.
Jesus is called the Man from Nazareth. The Man from Galilee. The Man of Sorrows. And the Son of Man. He came from heaven to this wilderness called earth. He is God almighty – the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Our Redeemer. Our Savior. He is the Coming King.
He’ll ultimately share His heavenly dream with you, if you live for Him now.
God’s plan is not an impossible dream.