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Christians and swearing on stage

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#21 Rachel Anne

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 02:13 PM

I would think that context is everything.

Argument 1:

In church, every Easter season, we read the passion narratives aloud, with the congregation as a whole reading the part of the crowd, and individual members of the congregation reading the parts of various people condemning and abusing our Lord. If we can do this without sin, because of the overall context, I cannot see why an actor cannot utter profanities, provided the context provides sufficient justification. If you think the overall effect of the work is a moral evil, then you should not participate in it no matter what part you are given. If you think the overall effect is good, then participation, even in an evil role, would not necessarily be to commit a moral offense.

Argument 2:

An attorney may represent an evil man in a fair trial without committing any moral offense by doing so. But, if the trial itself is a rigged show trial, then to participate in it in any role whatsoever would be a moral offense. (I would exclude from condemnation someone whose "participation" was to expose and subvert the trial.)

#22 Frank21



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Posted 28 September 2009 - 02:31 AM

I think of Mozart in "Amadeaus" and how it is vital to the show that he be a profain and obscene character. It would be a great dis-service to the work to "clean him up" (so to speak).



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#23 theactingmom



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Posted 24 August 2015 - 11:36 PM

Thank you for this string of conversation from many years ago. I found it in a Google search and am so grateful for it.


I am a theatre actress and have no problem with profanity, but I do struggle with implied sexuality on stage, though I have played many women on stage who have no problem with it. I have portrayed Gomer in the Biblical tale in a modern adaptation for film, Fantine in Les Miserable, Guinevere in Camelot and the Baker's Wife in Into the Woods, all who were unfaithful to their spouses or were loose sexually.


A new opportunity has come up to play another part with more sexuality then I usually play on stage, but I'm now a mom and I'm thinking through things differently then I did when I was just married. Let me clarify that there is no nudity.


What are your thoughts on sexuality and it's place for Christian actors?

Edited by theactingmom, 24 August 2015 - 11:41 PM.

#24 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 25 August 2015 - 01:41 AM

Hi theactingmom, forgive me if this is a bit of a tangent from your question, but for which film did you play Gomer? I'm something of a Bible-movie connoisseur, and at this point I am only aware of two films that have depicted Gomer: one in the biblical setting, i.e. Amazing Love, and one set in the present day, i.e. Oversold.


With regard to your question, I don't really have an answer, though I can remember discussing this issue with someone about 20 years ago when his wife was cast in Les Miserables; it became something of an issue for them that she was expected to be part of the chorus (in addition to whichever character she was playing) and, thus, she had to let herself be groped as one of the prostitutes in the background during the 'Lovely Ladies' sequence.


Groping -- even with clothes on -- would, for me, be a bigger potential issue than onstage nudity if there was no touching. (Not all nudity is sexual, after all.) But a lot of it would depend on what *sort* of physical contact there was, or how much, or what sort of purpose it served within the script, etc., etc. And it could be that what you're talking about has more to do with costuming etc. than it does with any sort of physical contact. So without those sorts of details, I don't really know what to say.

#25 jfutral



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Posted 27 August 2015 - 04:48 PM

Thank you for this string of conversation from many years ago. I found it in a Google search and am so grateful for it.


What are your thoughts on sexuality and it's place for Christian actors?

Hey! Welcome and hope you hang around! Glad you stumbled across us in this little corner.


Ultimately, whether or not _you_ can or should accept this role is up to you. I mean, if this is something you and your family can handle personally and spiritually, we can't answer that for you.


Philosophically and artistically, the kind of questions I ask are things like, what is the context, what is the narrative that it fits within? Does the sensuality make sense, does it further the story (either literally or emotionally), even if it is a more abstract work? Is it situational, a point of contrast, or more something to further define the character? Why does this sexuality exist in this play? Does it go too far? Not far enough? How well has the _director_ (not just the playwright) thought it through? How well will you think it through, as an actor as well as a mother and wife?


One of the questions I always bring to a show I light, as I read the script, i always ask myself, why does this play exist? What is the justification to bring it to the stage? Why did the playwright write the work? Usually (the Modern reductionist I often find myself and minimalist I want to be) I can find one line or paragraph or scene in the play that puts the whole play into perspective for me. Maybe that thought process will help you come to your own conclusions about your potential role.


The thing about pornography is it is already laden with intent and meaning. It is not part of larger idea, it is only what it is, nothing more. It may be redeemable, but that would take greater super powers than I have. Sexuality does not have to mean or equate to pornography, much less be a bad thing to portray.


Just some thoughts,