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Shakespeare in Church: Reflection on an Intertextual Liturgy Based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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‘Seeing More Clearly with the Eyes of Love’, a new ‘Liturgy for Voices’ based on Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is an experimental piece of intertextuality. It interleaves extensive quotations from the play with elements of the western Christian liturgy and five new poems by contemporary poets. The paper argues that the sequence of the liturgy has parallels with four moments in a Shakespearean comedy: gathering, disturbance, reconciliation and dismissal. Further, in this particular play two quotations from the New Testament appear at climactic points, and these are marked in the liturgy by two symbolic actions which give opportunity for congregational engagement. Data relating to congregational response has been collected after three productions of the liturgy, and is analysed to discover the effect of integrating theatrical and liturgical drama on the theme of love, so contributing to a larger project on love of God and neighbour as a common ground for religions.

Affiliations: 1: Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford, UK, paul.fiddes@regents.ox.ac.uk

10.1163/22144471-00402003
/content/journals/10.1163/22144471-00402003
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/content/journals/10.1163/22144471-00402003
2017-12-07
2018-09-19

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