'The Saint Plays" Take Center Stage

As the 2010-2011 theater season revs up, audiences in the Washington, D.C., area can anticipate a newsworthy event: a production of The Saint Plays by Erik Ehn, an experimental dramatist whose elusive, poetic and sometimes hallucinatory plays are deeply informed by his Catholicism. Now the head of the playwriting division in Brown Universitys theater department, Ehn is an artist whose works are far more often admired than actually staged. But Factory 449, a theater collective in the nations capital, will present The Saint Plays Sept. 17-Oct. 10.The production will actually be a selection of Ehns saint playsas I noted in a profile I wrote of him for American Theatre magazine a few years ago, Ehn has declared that he intends to write plays in honor of as many individual saints as he possibly can during the course of his life. (This is a guy who also once asserted, quite seriously, that St. Teresa of Avilas The Way of Perfection should be taught in every theater administration class.) Lets hope that the production goes well, and that it will do a little to raise the profile of a most unusual writer.

Celia Wren is Commonweal’s media and stage critic.

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