March 21, 2005

Altared Stages

Village Voice

by Charlotte Stoudt
March 21st, 2005 2:15 PM

Can anyone rescue America from the never ending campaign for our souls? With the Supreme Court debating the public display of the Ten Commandments and Hillary's efforts to avoid being cast as pro-abortion in '08, the rhetoric of religious belief seems set to polarize voters far into the future. Given the righteous posturing by secular and sacred interests alike, is there anywhere to turn for a perspective that doesn't throw the holy baby out with the extremist bathwater?

Try the theater listings.

Provocative arguments about the role of faith in our private and public lives are dominating our typically secular stages right now, courtesy of playwrights and performers from Catholic backgrounds. Doubt, John Patrick Shanley's period parable about a nun struggling to take action against a priest she believes is a sexual predator, has recently transferred to Broadway after its much lauded run at Manhattan Theatre Club. Downtown, the Public Theater has offered two episodes of Divine Law & Order this season: the LAByrinth's production of Stephen Adly Guirgis's The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and the recent staging of Jean-Claude Carrière's The Controversy of Valladolid. While Guirgis imagines Christ's traitorous disciple on trial in a purgatorial courtroom, Carrière dramatizes an actual deliberation held in Spain in 1550, in which factions of the Church debate whether the indigenous peoples of the New World are human beings. And underground at the new Dodger Stages, the musical Altar Boyz, a sly satire on boybands, believes in getting right with God by busting a few good moves in tight corduroys.

Posted by kshaw at March 21, 2005 07:56 PM