Performing the Sacred: Theology and Theatre in Dialogue - eBookTodd E. Johnson, Dale SavidgeBaker Academic / 2009 / ePub$13.10 Retail:4 Stars Out Of 5 1 Reviews
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Lauren4 Stars Out Of 5October 16, 2009LaurenThe vast majority of religious drama is sentimental mush, abominably presented, -E. Martin Browne. His experience of Christian drama has also, unfortunately, been my own. I have always wanted to change this, and, after reading this book, I now know that there are at least two other people who want to do the same thing: authors Todd E. Johnson and Dale Savidge. There are certainly additional members to add to this cause, but I have not had the benefit of meeting any yet. Ones personal creed is not something typically worn on ones costume sleeve in the world of professional theatre today. That is probably the main reason I found this book an invaluable resource. It opened up my eyes to the fact that there are people out there (and ways of connecting with them) who are seriously, critically, and academically interested in the intersection of theatre and the intellectual tradition of Christian theology. The book begins with a simple premise that is returned to throughout: There are 3 central tenets that ring true for both the Christian faith and live performance: incarnation, community, and presence.The book chronicles the love/hate relationship between theatre and the Church through history. We are carried from the popular mystery cycle plays of the Middle Ages to the denunciation of the artform due to the Protestant Reformation and the new divorce of the spiritual from the bodily that came with it, all the way into present day with a new call of action: step away from the rampant sentimentalism that regularly floods the Christian subculture and make intellectually-demanding plays. One reason people do not take Christianity seriously as a way to view the world is that we have limited and dumbed down the creative expressions of it. It concludes with a sampling of plays that are achieving this, including 2007s off-Broadway adaptation of C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce and John Patrick Shanleys Pullitzer-Prize recipient Doubt.
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