Divine reckonings in profane spaces: towards a theological dramaturgy for theatre, with special reference to the theo-drama of Hans Urs von Balthasar
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If from God’s perspective ‘all the world’s a stage’, theology invites one to think and act according to the view afforded from this height. To speak theologically of a ‘world stage’ as many contemporary theologians have done has required rethinking the Church’s long-established antagonism towards the stage. Of late, theology has opened up academic exchange with the drama’s understanding of ‘the great theatre of the world’. Hans Urs von Balthasar’s theo-drama in particular has given Christians a means for entering into discussion with dramatic forms. Contemporary theological engagements with ‘drama’, however, have been limited to its most literary/metaphorical aspects; less attention has been paid to the potentialities in theology’s exchange with the performance aesthetics of live theatre. Pressed to its logical ends, however, von Balthasar’s idea of a ‘theological dramatics’ and its advances made in contemporary theology, suggest the need for sustained engagement with other modes of dramaturgy, including performance theory and the stage. This thesis attempts to instantiate this theological engagement through the aesthetics of theatrical performance.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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