Shy and retiring, Terry, who piously blogs at Abbey-Roads and who manages one of the best retail establishments in the Saintly City, came out of his shell the other day to post his musings on the play "The Pope and the Witch" that is planned to be performed at the University of Minnesota Theater in March.
Pictured, a scene from "The Pope and The Witch" from Yale University production.
In this production it appears as if the director has intended a John Paul II-like character to be suspended from his Parkinson's seated position as opposed to what the script calls for, that the Pope's character be in a frozen, "Crucifixion stroke state". If that was their intention here, the play is even more offensive, not to mention stupid. How offensive is this play to stroke victims and the physically disabled, not to mention the Catholic Church? People with disabilities should mount a protest, since the Catholic Church will not. (News director at WCCO - get Darcey Polen on this story right away!)
Today, Ray from "Stella Borealis" sent me an email with the Star Tribune's blog post on the play.
Other bloggers have been decrying the U of M's willingness to produce the play for weeks now. The plot, if you can call it that, sounded so stupid to me, I wondered why anyone would bother giving it any attention whatsoever. I thought, if it isn't this play, its the "Last Temptation of Christ", or the "Da Vinci Code" - who cares? Anti-Catholics are out there and they will continue to make art against the Church. After the initial outcry that gets the public's attention and money, they all fade into oblivion. (But what if this sschmear is being taught in our universities?)
So I read the Katherine Kersten post (http://www.startribune.com/blogs/kersten/) Ray forwarded, certain there must be something he wanted me to see. At the end is a choice little tidbit that made my fangs come out and I started to salivate. And that is where I came up with my post title, "The liar, the witch, and the chancery" - although I was hesitant, since there are some good people at the chancery. (Now if only the U would do a play with a title like that - yet local institutions are so much in each other's back pocket - they may need the Archdiocese some day - like now - when it's spokesman promise not to protest a profoundly anti-Catholic play.)
The last 3 paragraphs of the article are very good:
"You can almost hear the thrill in director Robert Rosen's bold "director's statement" about "The Pope and the Witch": "I chose this play because it's political." Rosen anticipates a backlash of unknown proportions, he told the Minnesota Daily. It's as if he is inviting reactionary forces -- perhaps dark figures a la "The Da Vinci Code" -- to persecute him for the sake of his oh-so-daring art.
Please excuse the yawn. We live in a world where Danish cartoonists are in hiding, Russian dissenters are gunned down or poisoned, and even naming your god can invite a gruesome death in some countries. In such a world, it's hard to be impressed with the guts it takes to dress witches as nuns at an American university.
Beating up on the pope is neither risky nor unpopular. In fact, you can face down the Catholic Church's "power structure" and not risk a scratch. To wit: Archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath has assured the U that the archdiocese has no plans to organize protests or call Catholics into action against it. "We have a great deal of admiration for the university, its arts and activities," McGrath said. "'There's not going to be any continued rancor that grows out of this." - Star Tribune
"We have a great deal of admiration for the university, its arts and activities," McGrath said.
"There's not going to be any continued rancor that grows out of this." Oh I'll just bet there will be buddy - you'll be feeling the brunt of that statement, you can count on it.
McGrath is the guy who more or less did a little "spin" regarding Fr. Altier's exile - "Desert Voice" has the nitty-gritty on that - or was it at Spero News? He also has done some diplomatic double speak over past Rainbow Sashers and the Cathedral confrontations.
Back to the play. An Italian playwright wrote it, so I was wondering if he had the Italian Christmas witch, Befana in mind. Not that it matters. I believe individual productions insert their own twist to the play, as is obvious by the different Universities that produced it. It's such a stupid premise though -
"So here's a preview of what we'll see next March, courtesy of Minnesota's flagship institution of higher learning.
"The pope is in crisis," explains the University of Minnesota's website. "100,000 poor, starving orphans from Third World countries are arriving in St. Peter's Square in what he believes is a plot by fanatical birth control activists to embarrass him and the church." Overwrought, the pope has a "crucifixion stroke," which freezes his arms in an outstretched position.
A witch cures the pope using hypnosis and a tractionlike device on which he is mounted as if in flight. The Vatican, we discover, is connected to a vast heroin-smuggling enterprise. As the play ends, the pope issues an encyclical announcing that he, like the witch, now supports drug legalization, and no longer sees "a condom as the devil's raincoat."
In case you missed the point, the U's website spells it out: "[I]t is easy for a rich church to rage against abortion when millions are born into poverty, and become victims of the drug trade, from which people under the Vatican's protection can fill their pockets." -Star Tribune
Did you get that? "[I]t is easy for a rich church to rage against abortion when millions are born into poverty, and become victims of the drug trade, from which people under the Vatican's protection can fill their pockets." That premise is too dumb even for the U of M to support. How can anyone defend such a stupid thought. Oh wait, I bet they teach along those lines don't they. I wonder if there is a crisis in academia?
I think there may be at our Chancery as well. Abbey-Roads
(Thanks Ray for ticking - I mean, tipping me off!:)
Thank YOU, Terry!