Drama and Catholic Themes

Ed Block

in Teaching the Tradition

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199795307
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932894 | DOI:
Drama and Catholic Themes

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The theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar points out that life is the drama of God's action in the world. Drama has a unique capacity to illuminate that life and what it reveals about God. By its nature, drama is the most incarnational of the literary genres: for its full realization it needs to be enfleshed, or incarnated. The play provides a glimpse of eternity. It also provides those who experience it with an opportunity for transcendence. The action beckons and invites audiences to approach a transformative truth that can be personally revelatory. The interplay of relationships is the essence of theater, and in this interplay the nature and ambiguity of existence itself can be revealed. Some plays with a distinctly Catholic sensibility are especially attuned to and revelatory of the relationship of the human and the divine. Two that deserve careful attention are Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons and Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa. Both emphasize the interplay of relationships with the eternal meaning that springs from true self-knowledge. It is this interplay that allows individuals to enter into relationship with God and their neighbor.

Keywords: drama; self-knowledge; eternal; temporal; incarnation; A Man for All Seasons; Dancing at Lughnasa; Hans Urs von Balthasar; divine action; illumination

Chapter.  9470 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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