Rebecca is an enigmatic character. She's so friendly, so kind, which I do believe comes from an honest place, but she's also a turncoat if she needs to be. What is her major concern? If she was in this group to only serve God, I don't think she would care so much about her standing. My belief is that while Rebecca does want to serve God, her main concern is to belong. I like to imagine that Rebecca never felt that she belonged anywhere until she met Elijah and the True Disciples. And now that she has, she had no intention of going anywhere.
It's a bit understandable. Belonging to a group, feeling safe within her "fences" is almost like an extended childhood. She doesn't have to deal with the real world! She doesn't have to make decisions! She can sit back and pray while life churns around her. She is safe because she *belongs.
If she could speak for herself, what do you think she'd say?
I think if Rebecca had a chance to explain her feelings, she would first say she loves God, of course, but she would also wax soothing words about how she loves being part of the group. She is a puzzle piece, not her own image. Rebecca is not one to strike out on her own. She thrives off of rules, to her, those rules add up to her Salvation.
If I recall your religious background is closer to Sister Jean's -- and you made a wonderful case for the autonomy of the good sisters during one of our rehearsals. Have you ever been attracted to the religious life?
No. Never. I grew up in Catholic schools, and while my family at home was quite liberal, I met a lot of people who were not. Like the mother of seven who almost took her kids out of school because the library had a book on display called "Herstory" with a forward written by Gloria Steinem. Or the priest who called at bunch of 8th graders to be "Christ's soldiers". Or my all-girls high school where a majority of girls where taught that feminism is an ugly word.
I grew up under three popes, and saw the scrambled power shifts during each change. I saw nuns live in building where the walls did not connect to the ceilings, while priests had private cooks and bishops had robes that cost 15 grand. God was not a part of any of this. All of this was under that one word, Religion. In my opinion, religion and faith are two different entities. (Please excuse my terse words, I could go on for hours, so in trying to truncate, I may sound blunt.) I don't like religion. Religion is a body of humans, and like humans, is filled with prejudice and fear. Fear of not living with purpose, fear of dying...religion creates rules to appease the uncomfortable. To give them fences.
Faith, on the other hand, liberates. It is the unshakable belief that God is there. It doesn't matter who you are, God created you, and thus, loves you. You don't have to bend to others' ideas to appease God-God is appeased that you live with love. Those nuns I mentioned with the broken ceiling? I saw them pray and worship to celebrate God. They care for others, not to "follow the rules" but to care for God's creations. Because they loved God. Sadly, I don't have faith, I wasn't born with it, I lean toward a more questioning outlook, but I envy those that do. In every religion, there are people who have true faith. It's stunningly beautiful, and unbreakable. Faith has no rules, it's just love and trust.
The big question of the play is where you draw the line between a church and a cult. Where do you think that line is?
Continuing in this same vein, I think that difference between a church and a cult is a lack of Faith. Cults seem to live by fear, endless fear that if they don't follow the rules, they will be kicked out of the group and Salvation. It's...ugly. It's terror. Rebecca, for example, our lovely puzzle piece, believes that any wrongdoing doomed by her group could lead straight to hell. How clinical and cold is that? Human nature is to err, that's why faith is all inclusive and forgiving. Cults are fear-mongering. They are meant to control, not nurture.
Parting thoughts: If you had any advice for Rebecca, what would it be?
My advice to Rebecca would be this: Babygirl, you can stand alone. I know it's scary, I know that it's confusing, but it's worth it. Have faith. Have faith that God loves you always, even when you make a mistake. Have faith that those mistakes can help you grow. Have faith in the innate goodness of people, in the forgiveness of people. And Rebecca, have faith in yourself. Most importantly, have faith in yourself. Be your own rock. Be your own salvation. I know you can do it.