I have to disagree about the assessment of King Arthur. Firstly, if you expect him to be a "commanding leader," then you miss the point of the character. Arthur is not intended to be the confident, assertive king people imagine when they think of Richard the Lionheart. He was born a commoner and became king through circumstances that shocked and overwhelmed him. As his lines say, he never desired to be king and always felt ill at ease in his crown. Arthur ("Wart" - of course he isn't supposed to be your stereotypical kingly figure) is a "normal" person - he is shy and nervous before meeting his bride, he wants to be a just leader but is unsure of how to best rule his kingdom and constantly questions himself. He has the best intentions but becomes trapped in a situation where no possible outcome is good. All along he only tries to make the best of the situation that has been thrust upon him. This is why we feel so heartbroken for him, or at least I did when I saw the performance last night. There were plenty of tears in the audience, and this does not happen if the actor playing Arthur hasn't done his job.
Secondly, if you expect a more "kingly" rendition of Arthur's songs, you must not be at all familiar with the show. It was written with Richard Burton in mind, the most iconic Arthur, who is famous for his sing-speak style. Richard Harris and most if not all subsequent Arthurs of note have interpreted the role with that sing-speak performance. It is not only an homage to perform the role this way, it is the way it was intended by the writers.
As for Lancelot, I think it is not *his* transition but rather the way he is perceived by others that changes rather abruptly. It is written that way - after the miracle, everyone sees him differently. It is misleading to lay the blame for this on the person playing Lancelot, who does show an arc of growing humility, brief though it may be, before the miracle occurs.
I must agree about the musical issues. There were times that sounded jarring due to the singers and the orchestra not being together. I'm sure this will improve quickly (opening night always has hiccups). I don't believe this or any other issue has anything to do with the performers being volunteers. There is no theater in Charleston that pays actors enough to support themselves, so ALL actors you see in this town have day jobs and are giving their time for, at most, a small stipend. There is absolutely zero correlation between talent and paycheck. I do wish the Footlight D of D hadn't included that in the opening speech, because it is completely irrelevant and only plants expectations of disappointment in the audience. I, for one, was not disappointed.
The parable of the ungrateful servant tells of a man who was forgiven his debts, yet would not show mercy on his own debtors. Jesus said that unlike this man, we should show mercy and forgiveness to our brothers, implying that not doing so is sinful and against His teachings.
The parable of the Good Samaritan tells of a man who was accosted, beaten, stripped, robbed, and left for dead. This is clearly an evil, sinful act.
The parable of the Prodigal Son tells of a young man who took his share of his father's property and squandered it on "wild living" and prostitutes. He comes to repent his actions, but those actions discussed in the parable are undeniably sinful.
These are stories told by Jesus, which include elements of evil and sin. The stories themselves are not evil, and it is not a sin to tell them.
It makes no sense then to call other stories (fictional or not) evil. If I tell you how my cousin was raped and murdered, I am not sinning in doing so.
That is the last thing I will say, because this has gotten too far away from the simple artistic review this article was intended to be. This is a comment board for the review, where people who have seen the play can discuss their thoughts and responses.
Speaking as both a believer in Christ and as someone who has ACTUALLY SEEN this show, I would just like to point out the fundamental flaw in the above statement, which is its assumption that because this play contains elements of sex and drug use and prostitution that it is somehow condoning or glorifying these acts. This could not be further from the truth. If anything it serves as a cautionary tale, exposing the weaknesses that we as sinners are prone to, and how our emotional responses can overpower what we know in our minds to be "right" or better for us. No one will leave the theater feeling like they should emulate the actions of the characters. On the contrary, we hope the characters will recognize the right thing to do and find the strength to do it, and when they fall short we feel pity for them in the unfortunate outcome that their actions bring, and we feel sympathy for them because every human is just as capable of falling victim to these temptations.
Obviously this play is not for everyone, and if you are uncomfortable with nudity and adult themes, you should probably avoid it. You should probably avoid most film releases rated above PG-13. And that is perfectly fine for anyone to feel that way. But it is completely unwarranted and unjustified to call this show "evil" or "trash" based solely on its inclusion of these elements, especially out of context. You would not call any of Jesus' parables evil just because someone commits an evil deed in them. Why call any story evil simply because it contains sinners and some evil deeds? Again, I'm not saying "see the play before you judge it" because you should NOT see it if these things make you uncomfortable. That is the purpose of the warnings on the poster. I am saying "since you have not seen it, you do not even know what you are judging." The play does depict some despicable things, but these things do exist in our world whether we like it or not. Addressing them in a realistic fashion in film or theater or other art forms is a part of our culture's social commentary, and never addressing them is not going to make them go away. I am a Christian, and I am far from perfect, and if I were under the same circumstances as these characters, my emotions may have unfortunately driven me to make similar decisions. But by observing such situations from an objective audience perspective, we can perhaps gain some clarity or insight into our own personal responses to the situations in our lives, how our actions may affect others, and hopefully use that insight to make better decisions.
That objective audience perspective is something very special. For many people, the joy of seeing theater comes from being made to feel something, be it good or bad. Tragedies may make us feel sadness, but for an audience, that sadness is accompanied by a kind of elation that comes from being deeply moved by other human beings. The characters in this play moved me. Their flaws moved me. I recognize them in real people I know, including myself. At the end of the day, this is just a play, a piece of fiction. It is not evil, it does not encourage or foster evil/sin. It does, however, expose our vulnerability to it, and I believe admitting our vulnerability is key to finding the strength to overcome it.
Congratulations must go to the cast and crew who were courageous enough to undertake this powerful production, especially knowing that it would incite such controversy. Whether or not one likes the content of the play, one must acknowledge the beautiful work that went into its execution.
If you are comfortable seeing a play where the actors are both emotionally and physically exposed, and you enter the theater with an open mind, then however you may react to Red Light Winter, you will be treated to a thoroughly human experience.
Powered by Foundation
© Copyright 2017,
Charleston City Paper