Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review of "Pentecostal (and Anglican) Plays

I have been blessed by a positive and lovely review on my anthology of plays by Mr. John Ballard. It has been published in the current issue of Pneuma Reveiw. 

Here is what he wrote:

Those who only know Bill DeArteaga from his scholarly work will find this little book, less than 150 pages, to be a delightful romp. Unlike his columns in Pneuma Review or previously published books These two scripts are a breath of fresh air.

Here are two unrelated plays suitable for parish wannabe actors. Both, in the church drama tradition, are entertaining and didactic, in that order. Following each script are comprehensive endnotes in which Bill takes the reader deep into historic and theological weeds explaining material which many will find new, even surprising.

One Day at St. Johns consists of three acts with three scenes each. The cast includes a conemporary parish priest and an old friend, the church secretary and half a dozen members of the laity. In a variety of natural settings, we in the audience are treated to a banquet of spiritual gifts -- including but not limited to speaking in tongues, miraculous healings and an exorcism -- all moving along as naturally as the waitress bringing food in the restaurant scene.

Nearly twenty pages of serious endnotes document the significance and validity of these and other spiritual events with solid theological references. These notes would furnish more than enough
material for program notes as well as resources for a study group.

The other play, Joseph ben Jacob, the Dreamer, is much shorter and takes place prior to the birth of Jesus. This is a two-act play with a larger cast, and most of the action takes place over the course of a month. Joseph (yes, that Joseph) is a widower about 32 years old, preparing to wed Mary (who will be the mother of Jesus) not yet eighteen. He is a man of deep spiritual sensitivity, dedicated to serving the Lord, but the shock of discovering that his new bride-to-be has turned up pregnant has an unimaginable impact on his faith. The denouement is too poignant to describe in this review, but you can be sure it is nothing like the reader can imagine. Most of the action takes place during the days leading up to their wedding. But the final scene, which is quite short, takes place 33 years later. No spoilers from me, but know it ends prior to the crucifixion so the reader/audience member is spared that terrible ending.

Again there are extensive endnotes, rich with historical references. De Arteagas principal expertise is early church history and many readers will discover historic details that give new energy to old familiar biblical themes. Incidental New Testament details let us know that Joseph and Mary were a typical Jewish couple with several children in addition to Jesus, and Joseph probably died some time before Jesus earthly ministry. This little play gives new energy to one of the oldest and most beloved stories of biblical origin. Together with the first play this little book is a breath of fresh air in a sometimes stuffy old place.

Mr. John Ballard

The link to the Pneuma Review review is HERE.

This work can be purchased on Amazon as a paperback or in an inexpensive Kindle edition HERE

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