09 January, 2006

The Song I Love: The Melody of 42nd Street

    As I have stated before, the theatre world can be extremely aggravating because of how rife it is with ungodliness.  If you're not forced to compromise your beliefs for just a chance to get on stage, you are bombarded by sexuality from every possible angle.  And that's fine, as far as those things go -- at least I expect that from a fallen world.  What really gets to me is that Christians don't care to change it or they have given up entirely.
    Yes, the Greeks are credited with inventing theatre during the licentious festivals of Dionysus and it certainly was unclean there, but we have to ask ourselves: What is theatre at it's heart?
    Theatre is a medium for telling stories.
    Is God not the greatest storyteller -- the greatest playwright -- of all time?  Why then have Christians abandoned such an excellent art form to pagan culture?  Or, if not wholly abandoning it, why have Christians tried to make it into something it is not?
    Perhaps it is that Christians no longer understand the meaning of "dominion".  God commanded man to have dominion over the earth, and that includes art.  Does not Christ, at this moment, reign over all the earth as the One, True King?  Why, then, do Christians not act like it?  Christians should view theatre -- like everything else -- as God's possession.  Theatre is a specific art form with an objective standard of excellence: to glorify God.
    If this is true -- if theatre is God's and we, as Christians, are to glorify Him through it -- then why would a person be very hard-pressed to find a theatrical company that doesn't rehearse and/or perform on Sundays?  Why, upon finding this theatrical company, does a person find a stupid (and I use that word deliberately) "Christian" theatre that is more concerned with evangelism than telling a good story, to the detriment of both?
    If theatre is God's then why can't a Christian, if it is his calling, go to school to learn his trade without having to work on Sundays or fear of compromising his morals?  Granted, there are Christian colleges out there with drama programs, but they are by no means excellent nor are they artistic.  It's the same old theatre-as-evangelism poppycock that one sees across the country.
    Because Christians haven't seen fit to call theatre "good" and make quality work in the field, it leaves Christians with the talent, the desire, and the calling to act, direct, write, and produce without a godly way to do so.  There is no way to gain experience, no way to learn our craft, and no venue to produce and perform quality works.
    So where does that leave us?  Should we just give up?  Should we tell the pagan world, "Take your theatre, we'll have nothing to do with it!" and leave our thespian brethren chained to desks pushing papers in high rises while their hearts ache for 42nd Street?  Or should we make ways for the artists to learn their craft so that Christians can make theatre better than the pagans could ever dream?
    We should encourage our fellow Christians to pursue their art that people might say:
    "Stephen Sondheim?  He wasn't a true lyricist.  Listen to the words of THIS guy." 
    "Chita Rivera?  She was alright, but just look at HIM dance." 
    "Yeah, Ian McKellen can act, but not near as well as SHE can." 
    "You shouldn't even try to compare the trite compositions of Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx to the masterful artistry of THIS GUY."
    Ordinary grace did well, but just look at what saving grace can do.


  1. bravo, bravo!! well written and well contemplated...

    my only answer is to go out and DO it...on your own with nobody showing you the way or providing you the means...thus begins any great movement.

  2. I finally am stopping by your blog. Awesome. I totally agree. I have spent hours trying to figure out what Christian theatre would look like. It would be so different. I think we are going to have to come up with an entirely new name for it. any suggestion? ;)
    Anyway, I hope you are having a great time back home and I'll see you in a week or so!