Monday, March 02, 2009

Atheist Theatre

As someone who loves the theatre, especially the theatre of ideas, I was thrilled to learn of the philosopher A. C. Grayling's new play.  The eponymous main character, Grace, is a college professor and atheist who comes into conflict with her son when he decides to become an Anglican priest.  Certainly a more stimulating concept than the usual Broadway fare.

The idea of a philosopher as dramatist is not as unusual as it first appears.  Voltaire wrote for the stage, as did Camus and Sartre, and dramatizing ideas is a wonderful way of presenting them to a large audience.

As Grayling highlights in a New York Sun article:

"The reason I'm a philosopher is that philosophers are allowed to stick their noses into everything," he said. "I believe that when we compartmentalize everything into history and literature and science, that's only for the purpose of a syllabus so we can teach people things and get them to take exams. Actually, everything is all one thing: Everything I write and do is part of the one great endeavor of trying to understand this world and understand ourselves."

Writing plays, he said, is just "another way of articulating that perspective — to try to get people to see and to think for themselves."

And few things open the mind and relates it to that larger world like the communal experience of a play.

No comments: