Lately in class we have been discussing different Tyson theories and how we can use them to interpret different readings. Though today we rid ourselves of Tyson and dove into Passion Play with no tools for analyzing but our minds. Today’s class discussion touched on many topics in a very short amount of time.
We began class Dr. Scanlon asking us to think of words that best described this play. The list of terms were endless; passion, violence, control/power and sacrifice. But the words that were discussed most during our class were the following; evil, authenticity, reality, delusion, responsibility, and scripting verses choice.
To start, the class discussed how different Act 3 was than all the rest. In Act 1&2 the play was portrayed as a more faith based, wholesome creation but we see a dramatic shift in Act 3. The play becomes more of a modern, commercialized production. The professionalization of the production thus changes its realness, reliability and authenticity. Therefore, we able to conclude the changes in eras and what was valued in society.
The next topic of discussion started with picking out certain characters and discussing their function within the play. The first character discussed was Violet. Violet is a character containing many layers; she is a wise women/little girl who in all the Acts represents freedom of choice, reality and new ideas. Though, throughout the play she is seen as mad, a fool and naïve to others, she is one of the only characters who have a health grip on reality. Violet, during parts of the play, mocks the religious aspect exposing the emptiness of religious entities. It is Violet who ultimately predicts that the play will become/ is becoming more of a performance rather than an important religious play. Another character we touched on was P; P represents the evil in society. He plays a homosexual and a cripple, both of which are looked down upon by the “religious” characters of the play. In Act 2 P has an issue with his character playing the hero. He thus proceeds to change his line in the script to take complete responsibility of sentencing Jesus to his death. He is so overcome with guilt that he hallucinates blood on his hands. In this scene alone we see disillusion, script verses choice and responsibility. Other characters, such as Mary, were discussed very briefly and opened the question of delusion and also miracle verses science/magic.
Our class discussion was cut short, in which Dr. Scanlon assured us we would continue on Thursday. It was hard to talk in depth about each character due to time constraints but it left me wondering a few things. Is there a clear line drawn between reality verses play? Or do these themes overlap and intertwine? And is Sarah Ruhl saying it is a good thing to question and change the script? And when would it appropriate to follow the script (blindly or not)? And how influential are characters to one another? Do characters seem to transform over Acts or do they keep the same ideologies throughout?