Friday, January 18, 2008

us and them

This is taken from a description of an undergraduate theater program. I don't understand exactly what it means but I think it's safe to assume this particular college will not be producing my play Deflowering Waldo this year. "Christians are called to use their creative abilities to the glory of God. For those whose talent lies in theater, this calling can pose a difficult challenge, given Jesus' admonition to live in the world but not be of the world. Unfortunately, today's entertainment industry often promotes values that run counter to a Christian lifestyle. For this reason, any Christian young person considering a future in theater - whether as a performer, teacher, or graduate student - needs a positive Christian environment in which to nurture both creative ability and spiritual growth. Lipscomb University offers the opportunity to study under professors who are concerned about values: the value of imagination and creativity, the value of discipline, the value of excellence in the classroom and on stage, and most important of all, the value of a life lived for God and for others. If you share these values, if you want to grow as a theater artist and as a Christian, Lipscomb may be the place for you. A Christian education can help put talent, career, and spiritual life in the proper perspective, so that Christian faith and involvement in theater need not conflict." What I find most interesting about it is all the unspoken and half spoken but assumed "values" that supposedly go with being a Christian. I was raised Catholic but this is not that. And I'm not from this community so I'm not certain what they mean when they say Christian or if it indeed means anything at all. Perhaps it's just a theater program that is presented to parents this way. I don't know. But I am curious to hear your thoughts.

6 comments:

Scott Walters said...

I have to admit that I find this kind of admirable. Most theatre departments, as evidenced by all the ads in American Theatre, offer "training" so that you can "make a career in the theatre." There is little talk of values, of aesthetic quality, of the artist's relation to his or her community. Just work, baby. So I find a department such as this that has based its appeal not on The Biz than on certain values (in the case, religious values) refreshing. I couldn't work there myself, but I think their description is more honest than most department's.

Adam said...

Sure, but what does it actually mean? I mean are there well-defined Christian values? And are they culturally defined or based on the ten commandments...or the old testament? I mean I guess that's the problem I have with it. Bush ran on a platform of values and misled people to think he had some sort of moral center. I'm all for morality but I don't think it is well defined. I know what I think is moral but I don't think my morality is the same as the morality this college is talking about. Although honestly I'm not sure what a Christian theater is.

Scott Walters said...

I'm not certain if they can define what a Christian theatre IS, but I'll bet they have pretty good idea what it ISN'T. And while that may seem sort of weird, I think that most theatre people define themselves in terms of what they are against rather than what they are for. "I'm against superficial commercialism as evidenced by Legally Blonde." "Cool! Me too! What are you for?" "Um, well, you know, GOOD plays. Plays that, um, make people THINK. You know -- NOT Legally Blonde, for Chrisakes." I'm afraid that's as far as most theatre people are able to go. And perhaps these Christain theatre people aren't any different. They know what they're against -- Equus or Hairspray is probably NOT going to be part of the season. But My Fair Lady or Hamlet -- well, why not? Look at the shows they've done recently: Macbeth, The Trojan Women, The Rivals, Little Shop of Horrors, Man of LaMancha, Julius Caesar, Volpone, Animal Farm. Mainstream musicals and classics. Sounds like every ther theatre department, doesn't it? Perhaps during curtain call, the actors all point to heaven, like a football player who just scored a touchdown. But I suspect it has something to do with living one's values, rather than doing anything that comes along regardless of its values.

Adam said...

Well, it's definitely admirable to avoid doing things you morally disagree with. Like print ads for tobacco if you are against tobacco.

Scott Walters said...

*LOL* Yup. And probably conservative Christians have a lotr more things they won't do. Like, say, ads for...cross-dressing! *L*

Adam said...

I've never seen an ad for crossdressing. Perhaps I'm not reading the right periodicals.