Tomorrow I am traveling to Austin, TX to see my youngest brother Seth and various actors from The Oath perform Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons in Bass Concert Hall at the University of Texas. I've had the privilege of seeing the show performed numerous times at previous competitions, and this particular contest is for the State Championship. I know I am biased, toward the actors and traditional aesthetics, but it has been particularly enjoyable to watch this Christian-themed production defeat other plays littered with aesthetic elements antithetical to Christianity (Religious faith is dangerous and destructive, Clergy are ineffectual at best and corrupt at worst, War is ALWAYS evil because self-preservation is the greatest good).
The cast of A Man for All Seasons. Center foreground, facing off: Wesley Paul Stuart and David Attebury. Far right: Seth Ramsey
For those of you unfamiliar with A Man for All Seasons, it recounts the life and martyrdom of Sir Thomas Moore, the devout Catholic who refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of Henry VIII's divorce and his claim to be head of the Church. The script's message is particularly challenging and haunting, because Bolt, through the use of his author's character, "The Common Man," continually reminds us that people with Moore's steadfast convictions are the exception and not the rule; not just in Moore's time, but in all times.
Men like Thomas Moore, Francis of Assisi, and Deitrich Bonhoeffer, are often held up as proof that the Church has, throughout history, consistently abandoned pragmatism to confront evil. The noted rarity of such men seems to indicate that the opposite is true.
When I return, I will let you know how the play fared.