The performing arts are uniquely capable of translating a vision of an ideal or sacred reality into lived practice, allowing an audience to confront deeply held values and beliefs as they observe a performance. However, there is often a reluctance to approach distinctly religious topics from a performance studies perspective. This book addresses this issue by exploring how religious values are acted out and reflected on in classic Western theatre, with a particular emphasis on the plays put on during the Globe Theatre‘s yearlong season of 'Shakespeare and the Bible'.
Looking at plays such as Much Ado About Nothing, Dr. Faustus and Macbeth, each chapter includes ethnographic overviews of the performance of these plays as well as historical and theological perspectives on the issues they address. The author also utilizes scholarship from other academics, such as Paul Tillich and Martin Buber, in examining the relationship between art and culture. This helps readers of this book to look at religion in culture, and raise questions and explore ideas about how people appraise their religious values through an encounter with a performance.
The Performance of Religion: Seeing the sacred in the theatre treads new ground in bringing performance and religious studies scholarship into direct conversation with one another. As such, it is essential reading for any academic with an interest in theology, religion and ethics and their expression in culture through the performing arts.
1 Prologue: Performing Religion
2 Performing Religion
3 Faustus and Being Good: Ethical Choices
4 All’s Well: Choice, Responsibility, and Dialogue
5 Ending in Dance: Ethics, Religion, and Staged Movement