A special performance of the play by Paul Claudel, with discussion following
Directed by Peter Dobbins and Produced by Storm Theatre in Association with Blackfriars Repertory Theatre
From the play's director talk at the Crossroads event on February 6, 2009:
Anyway, what is it about the "Tidings Brought to Mary" that compels me to do it? I think it's because it gets to the heart of existence. That's what theatre or any art should do, to get down to the crucible, to the center of it all. And what is the essence of being human? As far as I can tell, the essence of being human is to love, and you are most human when you love to the greatest possible capacity. This play clearly illustrates that. If we are to love, really love, then there is no way that that does not come with suffering. It comes hand in hand. There is no way, if you really love, that you can escape the cross. It is inescapable. But what the play illustrates is that if you keep loving and allow the attending suffering as something that is unavoidable and a by-product of that love, then there is a redemptive, transcendent, life-giving power that is unleashed, that transforms everything, that can bring the dead back to life. God doesn't love us according to what we deserve, but according to his own honor. The other reason to do this play, not just because of that, but this is part of it and it goes into that, is that especially in this play Caludel explores the architecture of salvation and the mechanics of grace. However stark and dramatic the play can sometimes be, one must remember that it is a comedy of divine grace. It is really a love story about how we reach God, and God's crazy, passionate love for us, because that's what grace is; grace is crazy love, love that just doesn't see...it's just not normal how much love is there. And so it's just that within his plays God is calling out in all these amazing different ways; He's inexhaustibly inventive in finding ways to bring us to Him, and that's what Claudel is about essentially. He's bringing us through this; he's bringing us through that, and basically we're all players in this cosmic drama. Sometimes we're the protagonist; sometimes we're the antagonist; sometimes we're obstacles; sometimes we're helping, but the one thing we always are, we're always the love object. So anyway, how does all this get into motion? How is this divine plan of salvation that Claudel depicts...it's someone like Violaine or like Mary who, as the Bible says Mary said, and Violaine says in her own way, "―Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done unto me according to His word."