Saturday, December 11, 2004

The Theatre

I love live performances—music, plays, and everything in between. When I was single and lived in Manhattan, I did not avail myself of the opportunities to see top-flight theatre (although I did of Jazz music). During the 80’s, there was much solo performance art and small company theater work going on in New York. I regret not making a point of seeing any of it. One of my pipe dreams is to someday be able to go to the theatre on a regular basis.

The following is from the program notes, from the Black Friars Repertory Theatre production of Infant Holy, December 9, 2004 at Carnegie Hall:

To BE HUMAN is to be caught up in the human
drama. "The basic human drama is the failure
to perceive the meaning of life, to live without a
meaning" (Pope John Paul II) . Where can we
go to find it? We have to look outside ourselves
for something to provoke our passion, to
propose an answer.

We live each day confronted by needling
questions leading in their way to the Ultimate
Question. At the core of it all is the inescapable
conflict that scores our moments…yet strangely
keeps us always seeking. All drama is about
conflict; it is what enables a play to be a play.
Conflict is the relationship between a
protagonist and an antagonist. Conflict engages
us, engrosses us, makes us curious, makes us
care. In the characters’ dramatic struggles we
recognize our own. According to William
Faulkner, the one thing worth writing about is
"the human heart in conflict with itself."

That is why the theatre will always be appealing.
For there we experience, not some impersonal
dissertation of ideas, but rather the living,
breathing presence of persons passionate about
their purpose.

Drama is the lived relationship between a "you"
and and "I." In letting ourselves experience that
relationship via the stage we somehow become
more human, more alive. This can be the only
reason for eschewing the digital perfection of a
pre-recorded concert in favor of being here in
this hall to hear this performance.

Nothing else explains why we go to the theatre
and, there with our imaginations, for awhile
willing suspend disbelief. The beauty that us
the theatre helps us to believe in life’s meaning.
It makes us certain that the human drama is
really a comedy. For its ending is a happy one.

-Peter John Cameron, O.P.

The Blackfriars Repertory Theatre Prayer

the fullness of your humanity
leads to the fullness of your divinity.
Help me to bring all of my humanity
to the company in which you have placed me,
that our hearts may burst with wisdom
and our hearts with insight,
that "with parables and harps"
we may communicate your Presence
to all who will listen.
May our work exalt all that is human,
that our world may be touched by the divine.
We ask this in your holy name.

I am not a trained actor or a dramatist; yet, we are all featured actors (and actresses!) in the drama that is our life. May we make the most of it.


Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Yes indeed, let's make the most of it! God blesses us with life - it is a very wonderufl gift, one that we can use for his glory and praise, or one we can waste away on the vanities of the world.

8:57 PM  

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