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Big Cheap Mysticism: Postmodernism and Theology in Erik Ehn's The Saint Plays

by Dutt, Hephzibah D.

Abstract (Summary)
The work of playwright, Erik Ehn, author of the collection, The Saint Plays, engages the intersection of theatre, postmodernism, and religion. In an attempt to better understand Ehn's contribution to postmodern theatre, and his engagement with one of theatre's current challenges ( i.e., to make room for religious discourse), this study undertakes a close reading of three of Ehn's plays in light of his self-declared theology, "Big Cheap Mysticism." In my thesis I, taking Ehn at his word, explore the possible meanings and presence of the three descriptives, "Big," "Cheap," and "Mysticism" in a selection of representative plays from The Saint Plays. In chapter 1, I focus on Ehn's notion of "Big" by way of a close reading of Tree of Life, Keep Firm. In like manner, in chapter 2 I situate the play, Incide as an exemplar of the concept of "Cheap." Then, in chapter 3, I discuss Wholly Joan's as representative of the core of Ehn's theology, "Mysticism." In my conclusion, I summarize Ehn's theology as it can be understood from the reading of Big,Cheap,and Mysticism through the representative scripts. Most importantly however, I consider how Ehn's theology functions within the larger context of postmodern Christian theology in an attempt to answer the question, "What do artists seeking to represent Christian tradition, narrative or the Divine on the contemporary stage have to gain from Ehn's work?"
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:the saint plays erik ehn tree of hope keep firm incide wholly joan s postmodern theology theatre religious mysticism

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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