The Glory of the World

The winter season at BAM has begun, and I’d like to propose a toast to The Glory of the World. I had seen Big Love at BAM in 2001 (by the same writer/director team) so I was excited to see what they had dreamed up this time. It was a raucous party, that’s what it was. It was a contemplative moment of stillness. It was raunchy. It was violent. It was poignant. It was juvenile. Scratch that, it was brilliant. It was a blast. No, no, actually it was unnerving. It was enlightening. What I do know is that 17 men from the Actors Theatre of Louisville staged a party in honor of what would have been Catholic monk and mystic, Thomas Merton’s, 100th birthday. What this play actually means is anyone’s guess, and the lively discussion with director Les Waters and playwright Charles Mee during the BAM Gathering after the show posed just as many questions as answers. That is fine by me. Maybe the whole play is just about the effects of “testosterone poisoning, ” to use Charles Mee’s term. Or maybe it really was just a party. Plays, like people — even mystics and monks — are full of contradictions. Life is full of contradictions. And I think that is precisely the point this play makes: live deeply and embrace life no matter what the moment brings, be it love, sex, conflict or stillness. Life has a zillion contradictory facets and so do we. All of it is sacred. All of it is mundane. I would think Thomas Merton would agree. Or maybe not.

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