A Theology of Acting


My “final exam” in this acting class I’ve been taking at VCU was on Thursday of this past week. For the class, I had to keep a “journal” to record my experiences through the course. This is one of my “entries.” I hope you all enjoy:

So where is God in acting, anyway? I really do think that all art points to and represents God in some way. So what about acting? I’ve been wrestling through this for a bit now and I’ve come to a couple of ideas:

1 – All parts of the Bible are dramatic representations of the ultimate plan of God – the Gospel. So, Abraham and Isaac, Joseph, Moses, the Exodus, the Exile, the sacraments are all dramas (“shadows” as the Bible calls them) of realities greater than the sum of these parts. SO maybe acting is true art (or more accurately, drama is) because the basic organizational structure of personality, history, and reality itself is a giant dramatic arrow pointing to God and the Gospel.

2 – Acting explores various aspects of the “Imago Dei” – or, Image of God in man. It’s purity, potential, purpose, and perversion. All these aspects of the present reality of that “thing” that makes us human are the substance of good acting. When you touch that part of us, perhaps you touch something divine. The same thing that the incarnation touched in people as Jesus – divinity in humanity – walked among us. The same thing that will be touched for all time when all God’s people adore and behold Jesus for the rest of time. This leads me to my last point.

3 – Acting could be a symbol of the Incarnation. Jesus became that which he was not (human) to such an extent He became that while not leaving the reality of who He was (divine). It is in this process of God taking on the nature of what He was not in order to redeem it, that the greatest “method acting,” if you will, was ever seen. This is a very weak and poorly developed parallel, but hopefully thought provoking nonetheless.

Indeed, these are just possibilities, but they made me think about and love Christ more, so my hope in writing this is that all of you will to.

–paul

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