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Denis Cannan and Pierre Bost, adapted from Graham Greene.
Characters: 28 male, 9female, extras
Unit set, frags., travellers.
In the revolutionary days of Mexico a priest decides to stay with his people in disguise rather than escape. It is little consolation, however. For wherever the priest goes with the Mass and the Sacraments, the police are sure to follow executing those who harbored him. Though he is a humanly weak priest, with a past of many sins, he has moments of strength. He steals a bottle of wine from a drunken official, and ends in prison. Released, he travels to another province where he is given food and clothes, and the people make religious processions. At ease again, he slips back into his old pleasures. At the moment of his escape, however, he chooses to go instead to a dying man. Here he is ambushed, and executed. "A wonderful play. . . . Straight into the heart of a sublime theme."-N. Y. Times.
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On the verge of reaching a safer region, the whisky priest is repeatedly held back by his vocation, even though he no longer feels fit to perform his rites: "When he was gone it would be as if God in all this space between the sea and the mountains ceased to exist. Wasn't it his duty to stay, even if they despised him, even if they were murdered for his sake? even if they were corrupted by his example?"
As his sins and dangers increase, the broken priest comes to confront the nature of piety and love. Still, when he is granted a reprieve, he feels himself sliding into the old arrogance, slipping it on like the black gloves he used to wear. Greene has drawn this man--and all he encounters--vividly and viscerally. He may have said The Power and the Glory was "written to a thesis," but this brilliant theological thriller has far more mysteries--and troubling ideals--than certainties. --Joannie Kervran Stangeland
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