The Christian and the theatre.
Two: The theatre, and acting in particular, is so sensual at base.
It’s bound to destroy any spiritual balance in life.
closely related to the fear of the actor as egocentric is the fear of the physicality
or sensuality of acting. The church, from its inception,
has had to deal with the particularity of our being at once physical and
spiritual beings. Because the
church must draw attention to the "spiritual" nature of the human condition, it
has been plagued by the cyclical emergence of the heresy of Gnosticism,
a tempting philosophy widespread in the evangelical church of today.
This current manifestation of Gnosticism is seen in the “super-spiritual”
syndrome that places all emphasis on the spirit: whatever
is spiritual is good. At the same time it
demeans the physical, and anything associated with the physical—such as
is found in the very physicality of the incarnational action of “acting.”
Simply stated: anything that focuses on the spirit is good,
while anything that seems to focus on the physical is evil.
The immediate ramification therefore for the physicality of the acting
process is that it is considered at best “tainted” and at worst evil.
incarnational actor transforms the “word” into “flesh”
without apology. It is in the flesh that
the word is mediated and made available to the audience members in direct
ways (such as movement, energy, sound, tone, intensity, vocal color, gesture),
as well as in indirect, contemplative ways (through words, sentences, their arrangements,
their meanings, and the arguments they form intellectually).
The audience “feels” what it is like to “be” that
character, or to “do” that act. God, in
the person of Christ became flesh in order to know and save humans.
The “Word” must “become Flesh” to make a difference.
The actor is a primary means to that end.
Section: Question Three
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