St James Ministry Team

A blog from the Ministry Team of St James Church, Colwall, Herefordshire, UK


Paradise Lost

Did anyone see this at the Malvern Theatre last week? I did and thought it wonderful. I have made several attempts to read Paradise Lost, but always gave up after a few pages. Having it dramatised made all the difference, particularly when the acting is so good. I was taken with a remark by Ben Power, who adapted the poem, that Hell was democratic (the conference of the fallen angels etc) while Heaven was autocratic (things are so because God made them so). An interesting comment in view of the politics of Milton's time.

But what I really thought about was people's reactions to myth these days. Is it really any different now from Milton's time? I sometimes think people today are very literal and miss how wonderful images like the tree of knowledge are.


At 10 May 2006 at 23:30, Blogger Anne Hogg said...

Yes! It was brilliant. I can't stop thinking about it, especially as a theatrical experience. The staging and verse speaking were superb. It was one of those occassions when you don't know wheher you want to see it again and again, or just keep it as one single perfect experience!

To answer your question a little, we took a party of students (15 upwards) and they were, to put it bluntly, gobsmacked! First of all, I think, by the power of the story-telling, and what they quickly identified as the deep moral symbolism of practically every part. They felt that the evil was really evil - attractive and repulisive at the same time! The lyrical (nude) second half was appreciated for its restraint and delicacy. They were also amazed to hear that it was a poem (still more so that their teachers had to study this poem!) but were daunted when told of it's length. Did they take it literally - I don't think so, but the main symbolism is very easy to grasp. All the classical allusions are more difficult unless you have read the classics or Philip Pullman - to which this was a brilliant antidote!

The way the Son is portrayed has moved people (even with out faith) to tears. What more can you ask?


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