In Minnesota a big discussion is going on about a play opeming at the Rarig Theater, at the University of Minnesota. Theater openings at schools, are not usually mentioned in any media. When the might of the Catholic Church, tries to shut down a show, the media takes notice.
This blog has always supported the right to ridicule a religion, without repressive repercusions (hello Maryam). I'm happy to see director Robert Rosen, not backing down, despite pressure. The play has been picketed by seminarian students, while Catholic leaders, have been pressuring the University to close the play. A forum sponsored by the university will take place this week, to discuss the issues raised. Catholic leaders don't believe, the issues are debatable.
The Pope and the Witch
Written by Dario Fo
Directed by Robert Rosen
DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT: THE POPE AND THE WITCH
Play by Dario Fo, winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature
I chose this play because it is political. It takes a stand on issues in the forefront of our daily lives. It is funny, irreverent and to the point. It was written, after all, by an epic clown, the foremost political farceur of our time. Some people will disagree with the message and still others with the means with which the message is conveyed. Students of the theatre must learn to use their art form to express their views of the world in which they live.
But that does not necessarily mean political didacticism. We must also entertain.
With The Pope and the Witch, Dario Fo creates a world turned upside down.
The Pope is in crisis. 100,000 poor, starving orphans from third world countries are arriving in St. Peter?s Square in what he believes is a plot by fanatical birth control activists to embarrass him and the church. He becomes, literally, frozen with anxiety. There begins a surreal journey, guided by a healer from Burundi, into a world of poverty, drug addicts, Mafia hit men and illicit commerce.
Faced with these realities the Pope takes an unpopular stand: The man of great power takes the side of those who have no power. He puts out a revolutionary Encyclical and the world explodes into anarchy.
Absurd, grotesque frightening, and thought provoking, The Pope And The Witch will simultaneously amuse, engage and provide perspective. A fusion of comedy and vital reality.
Bill Donohue, president of the New York-based Catholic League, issued a statement this week calling the show "state-sponsored hate speech."
Last October, Archbishop Harry Flynn of the Twin Cities archdiocese met with university President Robert Bruininks to express concerns. The meeting was said to be cordial, but the university did not change its plans.
R.J. Houck, a board member of the Catholic Defense League's Minnesota branch, said the play is "not a legitimate source of discussion."Its choice was just outrageous," Houck said. Renegade Eye