This is a fascinating study of three criminals who are waiting in a Roman jail in Jerusalem as Jesus is being tried and sentenced. One of the criminals is Barabbas and the other two are those who ended up crucified with Jesus. The dialogue between the three explores the deep feelings that surface without people when faced with almost certain death. The dialogue has a gritty and earthy quality which seems true to the characters. The personal drama of these three men is set against the backdrop of the larger drama involving Jesus. The link bewteen these two dramas is provided by the Roman centurion who comes from Jesus to the criminals. The exploration of the character of Demas (the 'good thief') is interesting in the light of how Luke subsequently portrays him in his gospel as turning to Jesus for salvation. Barabbas' desire at the end to get as near to Golgotha as possible to see the man who died in his place is one of only many striking elements in the drama. Many artists have sought to gain access to the earth shattering event of the crucifixion of Jesus through various channels. This play gives us an original, imaginative and thought-provoking access. I have seen one of Sean Walsh's plays on a related theme acted out by a local drama group to great acclaim by all those present. The staging of Sean's recent play would release it's dramatic potential to the full. Highly recommended!
This book gives a wonderful insight into one man's life journey with all its light and shade. The literary form of the text invites the reader into the mind and experience of the author. The author manages to create a series of vivid scenes without describing them too explicitly. This reserve in presentation means that the reading has to engage with the text actively, using his or her imagination rather than simply passively absorbing the text. The effort which the text asks of the reader is very worthwhile. The end result is that the reader has a sense of having really entered into the experiences that the author mediates through his writing. These are personal experiences but they will find an echo in every reader's life experience because the author is dealing with deep movements of the human heart. I would warmly recommend this book to all. It is worth a slow, meditative and repeated read.
This is a powerful play based on Matthew's passion narrative, in particular on elements of Matthew's passion narrative that are unique to his gospel, such as the short scene involving Pilate and his wife, the washing of hands by Pilate and the request of the Jewish authorities to place a guard on the tomb of Jesus. The author has woven an engaging and thought provoking drama on the basis of these hints in the text of Matthew, filling out the gaps in the text in a dramatically satisfying way. The title 'Pilate under pressure' captures the essence of the drama. Pilate is portrayed as a man caught between his duty to Rome and his obligation to justice, the latter articulated in particular by Pilate's way. Pilate's dilemman is that of everyone caught between obligations to the institution one represents and loyalty to a greater truth which challenges that institution. The dramatist draws the reader/viewer into this dilemma with great skill. It is a play that is worth reading, and in particular viewing, many times. It throws light on our own struggles to do what is right when it is easier to do otherwise.