Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gotta Have Faith Faith Faith

My piece previewing the Acts of Faith festival just done showed up on the Style web site. Thoughts? Complaints? Tirades? Let me have 'em!


Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,

I will try to give you the breakdown of why One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest fits into the acts of faith festival, without giving away too many plot points.

The ward that the patients live on is a microcosm of the world the rest of us inhabit. Each patient represents different flaws, or sins if you will, of the human race. These men are enslaved by Nurse Racthed's unjust tyranny, as were the Jews under the Roman empire, until McMurphy enters the picture, as an unlikely hero: much like a certain son of a carpenter. Through the arc of the show McMurphy converts the men into followers, apostles, and leads them into the light, freeing them from said tyranny, and bringing them into a world of true understanding.

If you pay close attention there are also aspects of McMurphy healing the sick.

During the second act there are two major plot points that are directly related to the last days of Christ. I would love to go into more detail, but that ruins the fun right?

A lot of research was done before selecting this show for the festival. Many articles by Ken Kesey, and his contemporaries were referenced, and these show that our ideas are not pulled out of thin air, but rather they are derivative of the allegory that Ken Kesey originally intended the show to be viewed under.

Thank you so much for inviting this discussion, and I look forward to hearing what you have to say once you have seen it.

Brad Tuggle
Director of One Flew Over the Cukoos' Nest

Sara Marsden said...

Ouch. It's already damn hard to sell tickets right now. Hope this does not hurt. Yes, yes I realize it's not the job of Style writers, or any others, to sell theatre tickets, but ouch none the less.

If you think of faith just in terms of religion, than I can see your point in the article. Sure this festival is marketed to churches, but I don't think that religion is what it's all about. You can have faith, or confidence, in all kinds of other things (or people) than God.

Anonymous said...

It appears this review did a favor for the Acts of Faith Festival, sparking conversation and thought about the very premise even before the curtain (not that there is one at Pine Camp), rose.

Challenging conventional wisdom about what constitutes faith in a faith-based series might make everyone rethink the concept.

Thanks to Brad Tuggle for his illuminating reply; I know it will help me enjoy One Flew even more.

Andrew Hamm said...

"Faith" means a lot of things, and there are a lot of different kinds of faiths. I think that the real communication difficulty here is the connection with churches, which is causing people to equate "faith" with "religion," or even "God." That doesn't necessarily need to be the case. Perhaps a clearer word to focus on might be "spirit," but "Acts of Faith" is just SUCH a catchy name. ;)

I've been involved in the last four AOF festivals with Richmond Shakespeare, twice as a director and twice as an actor (including this year's Amadeus. Rather than feeling the need to make a tenuous connection between our desired scripts and "faith," I have instead been brought to a realization of just how much of our theatrical canon explores and deconstructs issues of faith and doubt without any stretch necessary. If nothing else, the Festival has helped me to realize that, in addition to being a literary genius, Shakespeare just may have been a theological one, too. (Marlowe, by contrast, was decidedly NOT.)

My personal work is always informed by my Christian faith, festival or no. It's my worldview; it's not something I can turn on or off. But the Festival gives me a chance to examine and discuss just how much of an influence it has on my process. I'll be writing about that on my blog in the next couple weeks, and I can't wait to discuss it in our talkbacks. I look forward to the Acts of Faith talkbacks all year.

I think it's a mistake to view the Acts of Faith Festival as the time when theatre companies knock the dust off old "God"-themed works. Instead, we should look at it as a season when we simply change the lens through which we view the work we're already doing.

Theatre IV and Barksdale Theatre (Jessica Daugherty) said...

The Acts of Faith website has moved to http://www.theactsoffaith.org.