Performing the Sacred is a first-of-its-kind exploration of the intersection between theatre and theology. In a compelling dialogue between a theologian (Todd Johnson) and a stage artist (Dale Savidge), this insightful book revisits the rich history of theater throughout the ages, then paints a picture of its promising future while building bridges between the theatre and Christian communities.
Noting theater's reflection of important Christian themes such as incarnation and community, the writers show how theatre can engage viewers on political, social, religious, intellectual, emotional, and kinesthetic levels. In doing so Christians are encouraged to celebrate and embrace the dramatic stories of the human experience while engaging the dramatic accounts of God's people found in Scripture. A provocative and persuasive argument for live performance in a virtual world.
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Customer Reviews for Performing the Sacred: Theology and Theatre in Dialogue
Review 1 for Performing the Sacred: Theology and Theatre in Dialogue
Date:October 16, 2009
The 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.