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The Paradox of Quaker Theatre


The title of Benjamin Lloyd's article reflects the apparent dissociation between, on the one hand, a spiritual religion distinguished by its lack of dogmatism and by non-liturgical forms of worship and, on the other, a mode of entertainment long divorced from the ritual religious forms in which it may well have had its roots, yet which continues to depend on preserving authenticity despite the rote of repeated performance. The author suggests that a communal seeking after inward enlightenment occurs no less in the approach of some of the most influential of modern theatre teachers – notably Stanislavsky and Grotowski – than at a meeting of the Society of Friends; and that the nature of Quaker worship may not, after all, be far removed from a striving for theatrical truth. In the series of ‘meetings together’ here described and analyzed, Benjamin Lloyd brought together friends and practitioners to investigate the nature and possible value of the relationship. The author has acted and directed in New York, Edinburgh, and Prague, and taught at Villanova and Princeton Universities. He presently teaches acting at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and his book, The Actor's Way: a Journey of Self-Discovery in Letters, was published by Allworth Press in 2006. He is a member of Haverford Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

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New Theatre Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0266-464X
  • EISSN: 1474-0613
  • URL: /core/journals/new-theatre-quarterly
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