Monday, January 3, 2011

Heart of Drama

Leafing through the the program from Scrooge, Fio was amazed at how many of the actors' day jobs were at churches as pastors, music directors, and youth counselors. But, on second thought, it makes sense. Religious observance is where formal drama got its start.

The Athenian theater originated in an annual festival celebrating Dionysus, evolving from leader-audience responses to a playwright competition. The Romans followed up on the Greek tradition, but the performances got so bawdy that theater was banned by the Christian church--only to be revived in later centuries by Christian priests dramatizing Bible stories in the sanctuary for Latin-illiterate parishioners. Soon the plays moved from the church to, literally, the marketplace, and modern theater was born.

And, in Georgetown, religious leaders are still at the heart of it.

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