Javert: No Quarter Asked or Given

javert

I first saw Les Miserables when I was in middle school, I think, and I was on the edge of my seat from the opening number.  But the moment that transfixed me was Javert's joyous "Stars."  I was in love.There was nothing I wanted so much as to be like that man, ramrod-straight, inviolate, and wholly consecrated to duty.  In fact, when informed of my conversion, one friend, initially puzzled, said, "Well, I guess you've always been a bit of an absolutist."  But my Javertian tendencies are a … [Read more...]

“The Time is Now! The Day is Here!”

les mis flashmob

Things I have attended at midnight this year: The Hunger Games, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit, and Mass (the first time I've ever attended Mass at Christmas, in fact).  But, today, one family tradition is unchanged by my conversion.  If it's Christmas, it's time for Chinese food and a movie.  And I hope I don't have to tell any of you which movie it's going to be.A few weeks ago, I was feeling a little crestfallen that I didn't have any friends who were likely to invite me t … [Read more...]

Finishing the Imago Dei

A_Sunday_on_La_Grande_Jatte,_Georges_Seurat,_1884

So, apparently if I host an installment of the Stephen Sondheim film festival the night before a silent retreat, I end up spending a lot of time meditating on Seurat instead of Scripture.  A few weekends ago, I invited friends over to watch Sunday in the Park with George, Stephen Sondheim's musical about Georges Seurat's creation of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.  (It's on Amazon instant streaming, go enjoy!).In the first act, Georges struggles to express himself to his … [Read more...]

“Because I am fearfully and wonderfully made”

frankenstein googly eyes

Frankenstein is at least the great-uncle of the zombie story. The alternate title of Shelley’s book is The Modern Prometheus and we can’t quite decide, when it comes to necromancy, whether it’s more frightening to have Prometheus, Frankenstein, Faust and all the rest fail in their quest or succeed.  Somewhere along the way, our Frankenstein’s creatures acquired a lot more hardware than the bolts in the neck. Today, Shelley’s story has more in common with HAL and cyborgs than it does with the simp … [Read more...]

The Monster is Father of the Man

frankenstein cumberbatch

As I warned you, I’m taking some time before I write anything specifically about being received into the Catholic Church. In the meantime, I hope my thoughts on the National Theatre’s production of Frankenstein will do. After all, it’s also about the surprise of becoming a new creationEngland’s National Theatre tapes some of its performances and allows them to be shown around the world. This past summer, I was lucky enough to see their production of Frankenstein twice through this program (on … [Read more...]

Singing my way to the Sacraments [Index]

theatre

In the run-up to my reception into the Catholic Church, I tried to talk a little about the process of conversion and the Christian faith in the language I'm most fluent in: the lyrics of Broadway musicals.“Reach out your hand, and see what it gets you” - The song is from Stephen Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle, and the Gospel reading is from one of the Scrutiny masses in Lent.  I'm contrasting Bartimaeus, the man born blind, with Nurse Fay Apple from the show.  Both make themselves vulnerable … [Read more...]

“No one can be what he wants me to be”

picasso quixote

The last two song and sentiment posts have touched on problems of uncertainty. How does Floyd derive comfort from his series of questions about heaven? Why does being unblinded leave Nurse Fay Apple more uncertain that she was in ignorance? The last song I want to discuss is from Man of La Mancha. In “What Does He Want of Me” Aldonza’s song follows the same structure as Floyd’s--a litany of questions--but instead of finding comfort, she seems to be as discomfited as Nurse Fay Apple. You can liste … [Read more...]


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