Category Archives: Theology

Lyric Opera’s WOZZECK: Apocalypse Now

Alban Berg’s Wozzeck is the Guernica of the opera world -apocalyptic, boldly declaring a new way of representation, and resistant to simple interpretation. While some viewers called Guernica “a hodgepodge of body parts that any four-year-old could have painted”, and the dream of a madman, others championed it as a landmark in art history. Berg […]

CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER: A TEMPEST FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS

In his classic Prefaces to Shakespeare, Actor/Director Harley Granville Barker, reveals, in passing, an important secret about the theater: “A play, in fact, as we find it written, is a magic spell.” “The magic of the theater” is a phrase often bandied about, usually meaning “theater is wonderful.” But the phrase contains an important idea: […]

GRAND CONCOURSE: The Trouble with Forgiveness

The great playwrights – Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Shakespeare – viewed tragedy as placing a virtue in a situation in which the application of that virtue creates suffering and catastrophe. Heidi Schreck, with her play Grand Concourse, joins the list of playwrights by applying the same formula, but with a hitherto unused virtue – forgiveness. […]

RING OF FIRE: An American Epic on Stage

When Richard Maltby, Jr. was ready to open his new work, Ring of Fire, in 2005, he sensed he had created something important: “It’s almost a mythic American tale—of growing up in simple, dirt-poor surroundings in the heartland of America, leaving home, traveling on wings of music, finding love, misadventure, success, faith, redemption, and the […]

Shaw’s Major Barbara: The Prodigal Father

G.K.Chesterton, George Bernard Shaw’s friend and jovial debate opponent, called Shaw “a heathen mystic.” I think he was right. How else can you explain one of the world’s most famous public socialists creating the world’s most compelling and flattering portrait of an unrepentant capitalist? How else can you explain one of the world’s most famous […]

ROB ASHFORD’S CAROUSEL: An Historic Reinterpretation

Throughout theater history a director’s re-imaging of a stage classic changes forever how a play is considered. In mid twentieth century Peter Brook’s productions of Shakespeare changed King Lear and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Rob Ashford’s Lyric Opera production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Carousel will change that post World War Two musical forever as well. […]

Dunsinane: Our World, Unfortunately

David Grieg’s exciting new play Dunsinane, an imaginative follow up to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, illustrates profoundly the difference between Shakespeare’s world and our own. Shakespeare’s characters lived as part of the Great Chain of Being – a cosmos vertically connecting each lowly jot and tittle of the earth in a direct line, through human beings, to God. In […]

DIVIDING THE ESTATE: Wonderful Play, Wonderfully Done

Horton Foote’s Dividing the Estate is in the great tradition of inheritance literature. God initiated the genre when He told Abraham of Ur, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.” His son Isaac initiated the trope of squabbling over inheritance by […]

AMERICAN SNIPER: The Sheepdog

The great films of Clint Eastwood have a fascination with the nature of male friendship. From Unforgiven through Invictus, Gran Torino, Letters from Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers, Mystic River, and even Jersey Boys, the director has explored philia (brotherly love) with a depth and understanding rare in any other director. At times Eastwood’s […]

THE HUMANS: From America’s Chekhov

The Humans is the latest play by Stephen Karam, author of Sons of the Prophet, a play with which The Humans shares many similarities. Both plays feature multiple generations of immigrant families: the Lebanese Christian Douaihy family in Sons of the Prophet, and the Irish American Blake family in The Humans. Both families reside in […]